NCBWA Releases 2014 Preseason Division I Poll – Cal State Fullerton No. 1

FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE

ncbwa_frontDALLAS – Cal State Fullerton has been selected No. 1 nationally in the 17th annual 2014 National Collegiate Baseball Writers Division I preseason poll. It’s the second NCBWA preseason No. 1 ranking for the Titans, along with the 2005 season.  Cal State Fullerton is among 12 different schools to hold down the initial post since the NCBWA Division I polls began in 1998.

Head Coach Rick Vanderhook guided the Titans to a final mark of 51-10 and the ’13 Big West Conference championship (the school’s 27th in all conferences since 1975). Fullerton was ranked as high as second in last season’s NCBWA surveys and closed the year in 10th place nationally. Cal State Fullerton is paced by a pair of preseason All-American starting pitchers in Thomas Eshelman, a sophomore who was 12-3 with a 1.48 ERA, 17 starts, 115 2/3 innings pitched, and 83 strikeouts as a freshman; and sophomore Justin Garza who was 12-0 with a 2.03 ERA, 17 starts, 115 innings of work, and 95 strikeouts as a consensus Freshman All-America hurler (along with Eshelman) in 2013.

Defending NCAA champion UCLA (a first-time baseball titlist in 2013) is ranked ninth initially after entering the 2013 season No. 5 in the NCBWA. Mississippi State, which advanced to the CWS final round for the first time in school history, is No. 4 this year after starting 2013 at No. 16. No. 2 Virginia, No. 3 Oregon State, MSU, and No. 5 Florida State round out the 2014 inaugural top five.

The poll voters come from 44 college baseball writers and related media persons from throughout the nation. After a preseason Top 35 listing, the remainder of the polls will feature a national Top 30 beginning with the Feb. 17 NCBWA DI survey.

Previous No. 1 entries on the preseason NCBWA rankings have been LSU in the 1998, 2001 and 2009 polls, Southern California (1999), Miami (Fla.) (2000), Stanford (2002), Texas (2003, 06, 10), Rice (2004, 07), Cal State Fullerton (2005), Arizona State (2008), North Carolina (2009), TCU (2011), Florida (2012), and Arkansas (2013).

Last season, five different teams were rated No, 1 in the poll – Arkansas (preseason), North Carolina (next 10 surveys), Vanderbilt (April 29-May 20), LSU (May 27-June 4), and UCLA (final).

The NCBWA continues its tradition of NCAA Division I polls with its 2014 preseason predictions and weekly surveys. Weekly polls will resume from Feb. 17-June 26 with the finale following the 68th annual 2014 NCAA World Series in Omaha, Neb., at TD Ameritrade Park.

This current poll has representation by nine different conferences among the baseball-playing schools in the 2014 NCAA Division I ranks. The polls of 2012 had a NCBWA-poll record 22 different DI conferences and independents rated at least one week while the 2013 surveys had 12 separate circuits among the ranked. For more information or to join the NCBWA, please go to www.ncbwa.com.

Rank-School-2013 Record-Final ’13 Ranking

1 Cal State Fullerton Big West 51-10 10
2 Virginia Atlantic Coast 50-12 11
3 Oregon State Pac-12 52-13 4
4 Mississippi State Southeastern 51-20 2
5 Florida State ACC 47-17 12
6 LSU SEC 57-11                6
7 Indiana Big Ten                49-16 7
8 NC State ACC 50-16 5
9 UCLA Pac-12 49-17 1
10 Vanderbilt SEC 54-12 9
11 Oregon Pac-12 48-16 17
12 South Carolina SEC 43-20 13
13 North Carolina ACC 59-12 3
14 Louisville American Athletic 51-14 8
15 Rice Conference USA 44-20 15
16 Clemson ACC 40-22 29
17 Miami (Fla.) ACC 37-25               NR
18 Kansas State Big 12 45-19 14
19 Oklahoma State Big 12 41-19 19
20 Arizona State Pac-12 37-22-1 20
21 Florida SEC 29-30 NR
22 TCU Big 12 29-28 NR
23 Texas A&M SEC 34-29 NR
24 Louisiana-Lafayette Sun Belt 43-20 NR
25 Texas Big 12 27-24 NR
26 Arkansas SEC 39-22 18
27 Alabama SEC 35-28 NR
28 Oklahoma Big 12 43-21 16
29 Cal Poly Big West 40-19 24
30 Florida Atlantic Conference USA 42-22 22
31 Stanford Pac-12 32-22 NR
32 Ole Miss SEC 38-24 26
33 Arizona Pac-12 34-21 NR
34 East Carolina Conference USA 31-26 NR
35 Georgia Tech ACC 37-27 27

Others receiving votes (listed alphabetically): Auburn (33-23), Austin Peay (47-15), Baylor (27-28), Bryant (45-18-1), Cal State Bakersfield (37-22), Campbell (49-10), Central Arkansas (42-22), Coastal Carolina (37-23), Connecticut (35-28), Dallas Baptist (30-30), Kentucky (30-25), Liberty (36-29), Mercer (43-18), Nebraska (29-30), New Mexico (37-22), New Mexico State (29-28), Pepperdine (27-24), Sacramento State (34-25), Sam Houston State (38-22), San Diego (37-25), San Diego State (31-31), San Francisco (35-24), South Alabama (43-20), Southern Miss (30-27), St. John’s (23-35), Tennessee Tech (40-17), Troy (42-20), UC Irvine (33-22), UC Santa Barbara (35-25), UCF (29-30), UNC Wilmington (38-23), UNLV (37-20), Virginia Tech (40-22), Washington State (23-32), Western Carolina (39-20), Wichita State (39-28).

Dropped Out From Final 2013 Poll: Virginia Tech (21), Austin Peay (23), Central Arkansas (25), Campbell (28), South Alabama (30).

By conference: SEC 9, ACC 7, Pac-12 6, Big 12 5, C-USA 3, Big West 2,  American 1, Big Ten 1, Sun Belt 1.