January 13, 2003

Baseball Picked Fourth in Preseason Poll

Jan. 13, 2003

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The 2003 Santa Clara University baseball team was picked to finish fourth overall and second in the Coast Division of the West Coast Conference in the league's annual preseason coaches' poll Monday afternoon.

The Broncos received 33 points and were picked to finish behind Pepperdine, Loyola Marymount and San Diego. Pepperdine was picked to finish atop the Coast Division while LMU was given the nod atop the West Division.

Mark O'Brien finished his first year as Santa Clara's skipper with a 25-30 overall record and a 15-14 mark in league play which was good enough for a second place finish in the Coast Division. He returns All-WCC selections Jim Wallace and A.J. LaBarbera to a team split between veterans and newcomers.

The newcomers comprised the 17th-ranked recruiting class in the country, according to Baseball America, and should be a good complement to the returning players who have already made an impact on the Mission Campus.

Pepperdine finished the 2002 season as the Coast Division Champion with an 18-12 conference record, but fell in the WCC Championship to West Division Champion San Diego. USD is coming off of its first NCAA tournament appearance in the program's 23-year history. LMU finished third in the West Division last season with a 15-15 conference record.

Gonzaga was picked to finish fifth in the conference followed by Portland, San Francisco and Saint Mary's.

Santa Clara will begin its 2003 regular season on Saturday, January 25 at 1 p.m. in Buck Shaw Stadium when they welcome in third-ranked Stanford.

2003 WCC Baseball Coaches Preseason Poll

School(1st Place Votes) Points 1. Pepperdine (3) 45 2. Loyola Marymount (3) 40 2. San Diego (2) 40 4. Santa Clara 33 5. Gonzaga 26 6. Portland 14 6. San Francisco 14 8. Saint Mary's 12

West Division 1. LMU 2. San Diego 3. Portlant 4. USF

Coast Division 1. Pepperdine 2. Santa Clara 3. Gonzaga 4. Saint Mary's