DENVER - The Sacramento State baseball team has been picked to finish third in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) in the Coaches Poll released by the league on Wednesday.
The Hornets earned two first place votes and 47 total points. Defending regular season WAC champion Seattle U was picked to win the league with 60 points and four first place votes and New Mexico State earned 52 points to finish ahead of the Hornets, though it received only one first place vote.
Grand Canyon was picked just behind Sacramento State with 46 points while Utah Valley, the defending conference tournament champion, had two first place votes and 43 points. CSU Bakersfield, UT Rio Grande Valley, Northern Colorado, and Chicago State rounded out the bottom four of the nine-team league.
Sacramento State finished in fourth place in the league in each of the last two seasons after winning the regular season and postseason WAC titles in 2014. The Hornets return seven starting position players and three starting pitchers, including 2016 all-WAC first team selection Max Karnos.
The Hornets also get back starter Justin Dillon after injuries limited him to just three appearances in 2016. Junior Andrew McWilliam hit .286 last season with six home runs and 36 RBIs and senior Kody Reynolds hit .295 with 14 RBIs.
The Hornets have won 30 or more games in five straight seasons, the longest such streak since a string of nine straight 30-win seasons from 1985-1993. The squad plays its first full season under the lights at John Smith Field and has 21 night games among its 31 home contests this year.
Sacramento State opens the season with eight straight home games, opening a four-game series vs. Washington State on Feb. 17 at 6 p.m. The Hornets begin WAC play March 24-26 at Northern Colorado.
|2017 WAC BASEBALL
PRESEASON COACHES POLL
|#||Team||Points (1st Votes)|
|1.||Seattle U||60 (4)|
|2.||New Mexico State||52 (1)|
|7.||UT Rio Grande Valley