2009 Mountain West Preseason Poll

FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE
The TCU Horned Frogs have been selected to win their fourth straight regular season Mountain West Conference baseball championship in 2009 in a vote of the seven MWC head coaches and a select media panel. The Horned Frogs received nine first-place votes and 75 points overall, while San Diego State received 56 points and one first-place vote to finish second in the poll.

New Mexico collected the remaining first-place vote and 52 points for a third-place ranking in the poll, while BYU was fourth (47 points), Utah fifth (31 points), UNLV sixth (30 points) and Air Force seventh (14 points).

TCU returns six starters from last year’s NCAA Tournament squad, including 2008 all-MWC selections Bryan Holaday (Jr., C), Matt Carpenter (Sr., 3B), Ben Carruthers (Sr., 2B) and Chris Ellington (Sr., OF). The Horned Frogs also return 2008 Freshman All-American pitchers Sean Hoelscher and Trent Appleby. The Horned Frogs were 44-19 overall last season (19-5 MWC) and captured their third consecutive MWC postseason tournament title.

San Diego State returns four starters led by 2008 consensus All-American and 2009 Louisville Slugger Preseason National Player of the Year Stephen Strasburg (Jr., RHP). The Aztecs were 31-28 last season (16-8 MWC), tying for second in the regular-season standings. New Mexico will be led by 2009 Brooks Wallace Award Watch List member and Preseason NCBWA Third Team All-American Brian Cavazos-Galvez (Sr., OF), 2008 MWC Freshman of the Year Rafael Neda and 2008 all-league picks Kevin Atkinson (Sr., 1B), Mike Brownstein (Sr., 2B) and Clinton Cox (Sr., RHP).

BYU returns eight starters from last year’s squad that finished 10-14 in conference play (22-36 overall), including 2008 all-conference member and 2009 preseason all-league pick Sean McNaughton (Jr., OF) and 2008 second-team all-MWC Kent Walton (Sr., OF). Utah returns five starters (15 letterwinners overall), including preseason all-conference member Michael Beltran (So., SS). UNLV has 22 letterwinners back, including 2009 all-MWC preseason pick Jesse Wight (Sr., OF) from last year’s squad that finished sixth in the MWC (9-15, 22-37 overall). Air Force has eight starters back, including 2008 Ping! Baseball All-Freshman Team member Nathan Carter (So., 2B).

The regular season opens Friday, February 20, with all seven MWC teams in action. The conference season begins Thursday, March 12 with Utah hosting BYU. The Conoco Mountain West Conference Baseball Championship is scheduled for May 19-23 at Lupton Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas.

2009 MWC PRESEASON POLL
(selected by MWC head coaches and select media)
Rk. Team (1st place votes) Points
1. TCU (9) 75
2. San Diego State (1) 56
3. New Mexico (1) 52
4. BYU 47
5. Utah 31
6. UNLV 30
7. Air Force 14
2009 MWC PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM
(selected by MWC head coaches and select media)
Pos. Name, Class Institution
C Rafael Neda, So. New Mexico
1B Kevin Atkinson, Sr. New Mexico
2B Mike Brownstein, Sr. New Mexico
2B Ben Carruthers, Sr. TCU
3B Matt Carpenter, Sr. TCU
SS Michael Beltran, So. Utah
OF Sean McNaughton, Jr. BYU
OF Brian Cavazos-Galvez, Sr. New Mexico
OF Chris Ellington, Sr. TCU
P Stephen Strasburg, Jr. San Diego State
P Tyler Lockwood, Jr. TCU
UT/DH Matt Alexander, Jr. Air Force
UT/DH Jesse Wight, Sr. UNLV