This Week in WAC Baseball - Feb. 12
DALLAS BAPTIST SELECTED BY COACHES AS FAVORITE TO WIN WAC TITLE IN 2013
Dallas Baptist has been selected as the favorite to win the 2013 Western Athletic Conference regular season baseball crown in a vote by the league’s 10 head coaches. The Patriots received 80 points and eight first place votes after a 41-19 season last year as an independent. DBU advanced to its second-straight NCAA Tournament last season. DBU joins the WAC this season after playing as a Division I independent the past nine seasons. As an independent, the Patriots have made three trips to the NCAA tournament, including an NCAA Super Regional appearance in 2011. Texas State ranked second with 65 points and one first place votes. Texas State was followed by 2012 WAC regular season co-champion New Mexico State with 60 points. 2012 WAC regular season co-champion Sacramento State was selected fourth with 54 points and one first place vote. The Hornets dropped a 4-3 decision in 13 innings to Fresno State in the WAC Tournament championship game last season. CSU Bakersfield was picked fifth with 47 points. UT Arlington received 45 points to earn the No. 6 spot, followed by Louisiana Tech in seventh with 41 points. UTSA was eighth with 24 points. San Jose State received 23 points to place ninth, while Seattle U was 10th with 11 points.
DALLAS BAPTIST’S COLLINS, NEW MEXICO STATE’S HIPP EARN PRESEASON ALL-AMERICA STATUS
Dallas Baptist senior outfielder Boomer Collins and New Mexico State senior shortstop Parker Hipp have been named to the Louisville Slugger Preaseason All-American Team as decided by Collegiate Baseball Magazine. Collins earned first team honors while Hipp was named to the third team. Following a 2012 season in which he hit .374 with 13 homeruns and 58 RBI, Collins is the only member of the Western Athletic Conference to appear on the first team. His 23 doubles in 2012 are second-most amongst the first-teamers and his homerun numbers place him as third most on the squad. Hipp was a third team selection after hitting .349 with 51 runs scored and 49 RBI last year. He was first on the team in on-base percentage (.488) as he helped the Aggies win a share of the 2012 Western Athletic Conference title.
WAC TOURNAMENT HEADS TO GRAND PRAIRIE’S QUIKTRIP PARK
After succesful tournaments in Mesa, Ariz., the past three years, the WAC baseball tournament will now head to Grand Prairie, Texas this May. The event will be played at QuikTrip Park, home of the Grand Prairie Air Hogs. The Air Hogs play in the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball. The cities of Grand Prairie and Arlington will host the tournament with the winner earning the WAC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The top eight teams from the WAC’s regular season standings will advance to the tournament. The brand-new QuikTrip Park at Grand Prairie located in the heart of Grand Prairie’s Entertainment District directly between Lone Star Park and Verizon Theatre in Grand Prairie, TX. The $25 million venue, seats 5,500 guests and features 13 luxury suites. Amenities at the stadium include: The AirHogs Pool and Party Deck, the 17,000 sq. ft. Grand Prairie Wide World of Parks Playground, the FieldHouse Grill & Bar, the 3rd Base Party Deck, the Coors Light Officers Club and the Admirals Club. QuikTrip Park hosts special events such as live boxing, concerts, car shows, festivals and corporate events.
WAC TEAM-BY-TEAM NOTES
CSU Bakersfield (0-0, 0-0 WAC)
CSUB added baseball in time for the 2009 season, and enters its fifth season in 2013 ... he Roadrunners became the first, first year team in any NCAA Division I sport to defeat the defending national champion when CSUB handed Fresno State a 4-3 defeat Apr. 4, 2009 ... 2010 saw the Roadrunners take a series from the University of Arizona (2-of-3) which was ranked 22nd at the time of the series ... CSUB improved its win total by 13 games, finishing the season 26-30 ... the first three CSUB baseball players to be drafted occured in 2010 when Zach Arneson (Giants, 21st round), Jason Kudlock (Rangers, 36th round) and Mickey Jannis (Rays, 44th round) were chosen ... CSUB was the only team in 2011 to play the defending national champion (South Carolina) and the defending runner-up (UCLA) in the same season ... after finishing 33-22 in 2011, four CSUB players were taken in the MLB draft.
Dallas Baptist (0-0, 0-0 WAC)
Dallas Baptist became a Division I counter in 2004 after two seasons of Division II play. Prior to joining the NCAA, DBU competed in the NAIA and qualified for 10 NAIA World Series between 1984 – 2002, twice finishing as National Runner-up (1985 and 2000) ... DBU has recorded 34 consecutive winning seasons in the sport of baseball ... n 2008, only their third year of NCAA Division I postseason eligibility, DBU was selected as an at-large participant in the College Station Regional, the first independent to make an NCAA Regional since 1992 ... in 2011, the Patriots once again received at at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament and were crowned champions of the Fort Worth Regional after wins over Oklahoma, TCU and Oral Roberts ... DBU has had over 130 players drafted or signed to professional contracts, with 30 of those coming since 2006.
Louisiana Tech (0-0, 0-0 WAC)
Twenty-three upperclassmen (10 seniors; 13 juniors) highlight this year’s squad – the most by any Tech team in head coach Wade Simoneaux’s tenure with the Bulldogs (entering his 11th year) ... LA Tech will play 21 games in 2013 against six different opponents that participated in the 2012 NCAA Baseball Tournament; eleven of those contests will be played on the Bulldogs’ home field ... Tech returns eight starting position players and two starting pitchers. The Bulldogs also have two top relievers returning to the mound in 2013. The team welcomes 15 newcomers to the 2013 roster ... the Bulldogs are entering their 12th and final year as members of the WAC. In its final season, LA Tech will battle new faces as six of the ten total teams are new to the conference schedule ... Louisiana Tech recorded its best finish in the WAC tournament for any team in school history with a 3-2 record and a semifinal appearance.
New Mexico State (0-0, 0-0 WAC)
New Mexico State won it’s first ever WAC regular season title in 2012 ... the Aggies have won 30 or more games for four consecutive seasons dating back to 2009. Last year the Aggies finished with 35 victories ... NM State ranked in the top 25 nationally in 10 different offensive categories. The Aggies ranked third in scoring (8 runs/game), fourth in runs (473) and second in base on balls (347). Former Aggie Tanner Waite was the national statistical leader for walks (69) ... the Aggies return four starting pitchers from last season’s NCAA Tournament team including Ryan Beck, (LHP), Adam Mott (RHP), Micheal Ormseth (RHP) and Casey Collins (RHP) ... NM State placed seven players on the All-WAC teams last year, which marked the most selections ever for an Aggie baseball team ... senior short stop Parker Hipp enters the 2013 season as a Preseason All-American (Louisville Slugger).
Sacramento State (0-0, 0-0 WAC)
Sacramento State is coming off its first WAC regular season title in program history and its first 30-win season wince 2003 ... the Hornets took Fresno State to 13 innings in the WAC Tournament title game before falling to the Bulldogs ... it was Sacramento State’s first 13-inning game since 2002 and the longest game in WAC Tournament history ... Sacramento State tallied 60 hits and 32 runs in four WAC Tournament games last season ... Sacramento State returns every pitcher who made a start last season ... Sacramento State returns six of its eight regular position starters, including WAC MVP Andrew Ayers and consensus freshman All-American Rhys Hoskins ... the Hornets set a school record with a .979 field percentage last season, which was tops in the WAC and No. 5 in the NCAA.
San Jose State (0-0, 0-0 WAC)
San Jose State begins the 2013 season with a new head coach, Dave Nakama ... Nakama replaced Sam Piraro who had coached the team for the previous 25 years (1987-2012) ... Nakama came to the Spartans from the University of Washington where he was the associate head coach ... the Spartans are returning seven players who started more than 30 games in 2012 ... infielder Matt Lopez returns as a junior in 2013 after leading the team with a .322 batting average in 115 at-bats ... Kalei Contrades proved extremely versatile in 2012 as a freshman playing in 30 games as an outfield/designated hitter while making 20 appearances out of the bull pen ... Johnny Melero led the staff in 2012 with 74.1 innings pitched, 15 innings more than the second-highest total.
Seattle U (0-0, 0-0 WAC)
Seattle University begins its first season in the Western Athletic Conference after three years as a Division I independent ... the Seattle U baseball program was reestablished in the fall of 2007 after being dormant since 1986 ... Donny Harrel began as head coach July 1, 2008, and the 2008-09 year was used for recruiting and laying the foundation for the program ... this year’s senior class will be the first four-year group for the baseball program since the sport was brought back at varsity status ... the Redhawks have improved their win total each season, going from 11 in 2010 to 21 in 2011 to 23 in 2012 ... Seattle U plays its home games at Bannerwood Park in nearby Bellevue. The baseball program has partnered with the city of Bellevue for numerous improvements to the facility over the past three years.
UT Arlington (0-0, 0-0 WAC)
The Mavericks are coming off their fifth NCAA tournament appearance after winning the 2012 Southland Conference Tournament in the final season a part of the SLC ... UTA is led by junior shortstop Ryan Walker. Walker led the team in batting average (.360), hits (90) and runs scored (56). He was named a Louisville Slugger All-American his freshman year and finished second-team All-SLC in his sophomore year ... the Mavs have to replace four players who joined Major League rosters including first-team All-SLC member Preston Beck, who was selected in the fifth round by the Texas Rangers. Beck led UTA in home runs (14) , RBI (71) and total bases (133) ... UTA defeated three top-25 teams last season and were 4-2 against the Big 12 ... the Mavs knocked off No. 13 Texas in Austin, No. 16 Oklahoma in Norman, Okla., and No. 2 Texas A&M in College Station.
Texas State (0-0, 0-0 WAC)
Last year the Bobcats began the season strong with a 14-6 record through the team’s first 20 games, the second best 20-game start to a season since Ty Harrington took over as head coach in 2000 ... the start helped catapult Texas State up to No. 20 in the Baseball America rankings, the highest since the program began in 1985, and No. 30 in the Collegiate Baseball poll ... Texas State hurlers did not allow a run over 57 2/3 consecutive innings, a streak spanning seven games from Feb. 25 to March 6. The Bobcats set the team record for scoreless innings and consecutive shutouts (5) and came up just 6 1/3 innings shy of the NCAA record of 64 consecutive scoreless innings set in 1972 by Arizona State ... Texas State returns two all-conference players from a year ago (Andrew Stumph and Mitchell Pitts) ... Texas State has had five players selected in each of the last two Major League Drafts.
UTSA (0-0, 0-0 WAC)
Jason Marshall enters his first season as the fourth head coach in program history. He spent 12 seasons as an assistant at UTSA, including the last nine as the associate head coach ... the Roadrunners return 21 letterwinners from last year’s club that posted a 22-32 overall record ... junior outfielder Riley Good and junior shortstop RJ Perucki are among UTSA’s top returners. Good was leading the nation in hits before being sidelined for most of the year with an injury, while Perucki garnered third-team All-Southland Conference honors for his play at shortstop ... junior pitcher Michael Kraft also returns after leading the squad with eight victories last season ... the Roadrunners welcome 12 newcomers to the team, including eight junior college transfers ... UTSA’s 2013 schedule features seven teams that qualified for the NCAA Tournament a year ago and 10 teams that finished in the RPI top 80.