FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Five-time defending Mountain West Conference champion TCU is the unanimous favorite to win its sixth consecutive regular season MWC baseball title in 2011, according to a vote of the seven MWC head coaches and a selected media panel. The Horned Frogs received all 16 first-place votes and 112 points overall, while BYU garnered 84 points to finish second in the poll. San Diego State collected 75 points for a third-place ranking in the poll, while New Mexico was fourth (71 points). Rounding out the poll were UNLV in fifth (45 points), Utah in sixth (43 points) and Air Force in seventh (18 points).
Under the direction of 2010 NCBWA Coach of the Year Jim Schlossnagle, TCU returns its entire starting rotation and seven starting position players from a Horned Frog squad that finished the season with a 54-14 overall (21-5 MWC) record and No. 3 ranking in the final polls. The Frogs captured both the Mountain West Conference regular-season and tournament titles before advancing to the semifinals of the 2010 College World Series. Consensus 2010 Freshman Pitcher of the Year Matt Purke (So./LHP) headlines the list of TCU returnees and is joined by fellow all-MWC performers Steven Maxwell (Sr./RHP); Kyle Winkler (Jr./RHP); Jason Coats (Jr./OF); Taylor Featherston (Jr./SS); Jerome Pena (Sr./2B) and Brance Rivera (Jr./OF). TCU enters the 2011 campaign ranked No. 1 in the Collegiate Baseball and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association polls, and No. 3 in the Baseball America poll.
BYU returns five starters among 17 letterwinners from 2010, led by junior utility player Alex Wolfe. The Cougars were 27-31 overall last season, posting a fourth-place finish in the MWC standings with a 12-12 mark.
San Diego State ended the 2010 campaign with a 28-28 overall record, including a third-place MWC finish (13-11). All-MWC selection Brandon Meredith (Jr./RF) leads a group of five starters and 13 letterwinners returning for the Aztecs.
The 2011 season gets underway on Friday, Feb. 18. For more on the preseason poll and all-Conference team, as well as a look at each of the seven MWC squads, tune in to The Mtn.-MountainWest Sports Network tonight for the 2011 MWC Baseball Preview, which airs at 7 p.m. MT.