FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE
DENVER – Fresno State has been selected as the favorite to win the 2011 Western Athletic Conference regular season baseball crown in a vote by the league’s seven head coaches. The coaches also voted on a preseason all-WAC team with Fresno State leading the way as it placed seven players on the team. Hawai‘i junior second baseman Kolten Wong was named the preseason player of the year, while San Jose State senior Blake McFarland was picked the preseason pitcher of the year.
Fresno State received 32 points and four first place votes after a 38-25 season last year. The Bulldogs have won the WAC regular season title four out of the past five seasons. Hawai‘i, last year’s WAC Tournament champion, ranked second with 30 points and two first place votes. UH was followed by Nevada with 25, San Jose State with 24, New Mexico State with 16 points, Louisiana Tech with 14, and Sacramento State with six.
The preseason all-WAC team included seven Fresno State players: junior outfielder Brennan Gowens, junior outfielder Dusty Robinson, senior first baseman Jordan Ribera, senior shortstop Garrett Weber, senior third baseman Danny Muno, junior catcher Trent Garrison and senior starting pitcher Greg Gonzalez.
Hawai‘i had four players on the team: junior second baseman Kolten Wong, senior designated hitter Jeff Van Doornum, junior starting pitcher Matt Sisto and junior relief pitcher Lenny Linsky. Nevada had two players on the team:senior outfielder Brian Barnett and senior utility player Brock Stassi. San Jose State also placed two on the team in senior starting pitcher Blake McFarland and sophomore relief pitcher Zack Jones. New Mexico State was represented by senior outfielder Chace Perkins.
Wong was picked as the preseason player of the year after hitting .357 last year with 89 hits, 57 runs, 40 RBI and 15 doubles. McFarland was selected the preseason pitcher of the year after posting a 7-4 record with 71 strikeouts and a 3.62 ERA last season.
The 49th year of WAC baseball begins Friday, February 18 when each of the league’s seven teams will open regular season play. The WAC Tournament will be held in Mesa, Arizona at Hohokam Stadium, May 25-28/29. The top six teams will advance to the tournament.
2011 Preseason Baseball Coaches Poll
Rank Teams (1st Place Votes) Points
1. Fresno State (4) 32
2. Hawai‘i (2) 30
3. Nevada (1) 25
4. San Jose State 24
4. New Mexico State 16
6. Louisiana Tech 14
7. Sacramento State 6
Preseason Coaches All-WAC Teams
OF – Brennan Gowens, Jr., Fresno State
OF – Dusty Robinson, Jr., Fresno State
OF – Brian Barnett, Sr., Nevada
OF – Chace Perkins, Sr., New Mexico State
1B – Jordan Ribera, Sr., Fresno State
2B – Kolten Wong, Jr., Hawai‘i
SS – Garrett Weber, Sr., Fresno State
3B – Danny Muno, Sr., Fresno State
C – Trent Garrison, Jr., Fresno State
DH – Jeff Van Doornum, Sr., Hawai‘i
UTI- Brock Stassi, Sr., Nevada
SP – Matt Sisto, Jr., Hawai‘i
SP – Greg Gonzalez, Sr., Fresno State
SP – Blake McFarland, Sr., San Jose State
RP – Zack Jones, So., San Jose State
RP – Lenny Linsky, Jr., Hawai‘i
Player of the Year
Kolten Wong, Jr., 2B, Hawai‘i
Pitcher of the Year
Blake McFarland, Sr., San Jose State