Fresno State has been selected as the favorite to win the 2009 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, and Fresno State placed four players on the team while Hawai'i, Nevada and New Mexico State each had three. Fresno State junior third baseman Tommy Mendonca was named the preseason player of the year, while Hawai'i senior Jared Alexander was picked the preseason pitcher of the year.
Fresno State received 34 points and five first place votes after a 47-31 season last year. The Bulldogs have won both the WAC regular season and tournament titles the past three seasons. Fresno State won last year's national title at the College World Series. San Jose State ranked second with 29 points followed by Nevada with 26, Hawai'i with 25, New Mexico State with 14 points, Louisiana Tech with 13, and Sacramento State with six.
The preseason all-WAC team included four Fresno State players: senior outfielder Gavin Hedstrom, junior outfielder Steve Detwiler, sophomore shortstop Danny Muno and junior third baseman Mendonca. Mendonca was picked as the preseason player of the year after hitting .281 last year with 70 RBI, 19 home runs and eight doubles.
Hawai'i had three players on the team: Alexander, senior catcher Landon Hernandez, and sophomore relief pitcher Josh Slaats. Alexander was selected the preseason pitcher of the year after posting a 7-3 record with a 3.27 ERA last season. Nevada had three players on the team: junior first baseman Shaun Kort, senior second baseman Matt Bowman, and senior utility player Tyson Jaquez. New Mexico State also placed three on the team in senior outfielder Richard Stout, senior pitcher Tyler Sturdevant, and senior relief pitcher Erik Nyquist. Junior outfielder Tim Wheeler represented Sacramento State. San Jose State's representative was junior pitcher Max Peterson.
The 47th year of WAC baseball begins Friday, February 20 when each of the league's seven teams will open regular season play. The WAC Tournament will be held in Honolulu at Hawai'i's Les Murakami Stadium, May 21-24. The top six teams will advance to the tournament.
2009 WAC BASEBALL COACHES' POLL
(Points awarded on a 6-5-4-3-2-1 basis as coaches were not allowed to vote for their own teams)
1. Fresno St. 34
2. San Jose State 29
3. Nevada 26
4. Hawai'i 25
5. New Mexico St. 14
6. Louisiana Tech 13
7. Sacramento St. 6
PRESEASON ALL-WAC TEAM
OF Gavin Hedstrom, Sr., Fresno State
OF Steve Detwiler, Jr., Fresno State
OF Richard Stout, Sr., New Mexico State
OF Tim Wheeler, Jr., Sacramento State
1B Shaun Kort, Jr., Nevada
2B Matt Bowman, Sr., Nevada
SS Danny Muno, So., Fresno State
3B Tommy Mendonca, Jr., Fresno State
C Landon Hernandez, Sr., Hawai'i
UTI Tyson Jaquez, Sr., Nevada
SP Jared Alexander, Sr., Hawai'i
SP Tyler Sturdevant, Sr., New Mexico State
SP Max Peterson, Jr., San Jose State
RP Josh Slaats, So., Hawai'i
RP Erik Nyquist, Sr., New Mexico State
Player of the Year
Tommy Mendonca, Jr., Fresno State
Pitcher of the Year
Jared Alexander, Sr., Hawai'i