DENVER – Grand Canyon is the preseason favorite to win the 2019 Western Athletic Conference baseball title while GCU's Quin Cotton and NM State's Brock Whittlesey were selected WAC Preseason Player and Pitcher of the Year respectively in a vote of the league's 10 head coaches, who could not vote for their own team or players.
The Lopes, the 2018 WAC regular season champions, received five first place votes to finish atop the preseason poll with 75 points. NM State, the 2018 WAC tournament champions, were just one point back of GCU, taking three first-place votes for 74 total points. Sacramento State was selected third, picking up the final two first-place votes to total 69 points. Seattle U was selected fourth with 54 points, followed by California Baptist and UT Rio Grande Valley tying for fifth place with 37 points each. CSU Bakersfield is picked seventh, followed by Northern Colorado, Utah Valley and Chicago State.
Cotton and Whittlesey highlight the Preseason All-WAC squad. NM State leads the way with six players as the Aggies' Braden Williams, Caleb Henderson, Nick Gonzales, Joey Ortiz and Tristen Carranza join Whittlesey on the list. Seattle U had three honored as Austin Lively, Justin Mazzone and Jake Prizina represent the Redhawks. Cotton is joined by GCU teammate Pikai Winchester. Sacramento State had two selections as well as pitchers Scott Randall and Tanner Dalton were each honored. Northern Colorado's Jack Pauley rounded out the 14-member team.
The 2019 season begins on Friday, Feb. 15. WAC play is set to begin on March 22.
2019 Preseason Baseball Coaches Poll
|Rank||Team (1st Place Votes)||Points|
|1.||Grand Canyon (5)||75|
|2.||NM State (3)||74|
|3.||Sacramento State (2)||69|
|T5.||UT Rio Grande Valley||37|
2019 Preseason All-WAC Team
Catcher: Braden Williams, Sr., NM State
First Base: Caleb Henderson, Sr., NM State
Second Base: Nick Gonzales, So., NM State
Third Base: Austin Lively, Jr., Seattle U
Third Base: Pikai Winchester, Sr., Grand Canyon
Shortstop: Joey Ortiz, Jr., NM State
Outfield: Tristen Carranza, Sr., NM State
Outfield: Quin Cotton, Jr., Grand Canyon
Outfield: Jack Pauley, Sr., Northern Colorado
Utility/DH: Justin Mazzone, So., Seattle U
Starting Pitcher: Jake Prizina, Sr., Seattle U
Starting Pitcher: Scott Randall, So., Sacramento State
Starting Pitcher: Brock Whittlesey, Sr., NM State
Relief Pitcher: Tanner Dalton, Sr., Sacramento State
Preseason Player of the Year: Quin Cotton, Jr., OF, Grand Canyon
Preseason Pitcher of the Year: Brock Whittlesey, Sr., RHP, NM State