Baseball Selected 31st In NCBWA Preseason Poll

Jan. 13, 2009

CORVALLIS, Ore. - The Oregon State baseball team will open the 2009 season ranked as the nation's No. 31 team, according to the National College Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) poll, which was released on Tuesday.

The ranking is the second in less than a week for the Beavers, who were selected 24th by Rivals.com on Saturday.

Oregon State is one of six Pacific-10 Conference teams that are ranked amongst the top 35 teams in the nation, according to the NCBWA. The Beavers finished the 2008 season with a 28-24 record and 11-13 mark in conference games.

The Pac-10's six clubs are tied for the most with the Big 12, which also had six teams placed in the top 35. The Atlantic Coast and Southeastern Conferences both had five.

Oregon State is slated to field a formidable lineup with a potent group of pitchers this season. Among the returners on the infield are catcher Ryan Ortiz, who was an All-Pac-10 performer last season, and two defensive wizards up the middle in Joey Wong and John Tommasini.

In the outfield, senior John Wallace returns for his final season in an Oregon State uniform, as does Koa Kahalehoe.

Pitching-wise, Oregon State's strong freshman class last season returns as sophomores, and could help form one of the top pitching staffs on the West Coast. The likes of Kevin Rhoderick, a Freshman All-America last season, Taylor Starr, Josh Osich, Tanner Robles, James Nygren and Greg Peavey will combine with junior Jorge Reyes and newcomer Tyler Waldron to comprise a powerful group of arms. Kraig Sitton and Mark Grbabac, impressive relievers last season, will also help bolster the staff.

Pat Casey and his coaching staff hit the recruiting trail hard in the offseason, bringing in junior college transfers Stefen Romero, Logan Lotti, Adalberto Santos, Mike Chiarelli and Jared Norris, among others, to help balance out the lineup this season. Freshmen outfielders Brent Warren, Ryan Gorton and Blake Gibbs are much heralded, as are infielder Carter Bell and pitcher Sam Gaviglio.

The NCBWA poll is released weekly during the season, and will have its first one announced on Feb. 23. Thirty-two college baseball writers and selected media relations personnel vote on the poll. After the initial preseason poll, 30 teams will be announced once the season starts.

The 2009 season officially opens Feb. 20 when the Beavers start a three-game series against Tennessee in Knoxville.

Approximately 400 season tickets for the 2009 campaign will be made available on Jan. 20. The packages, which include 27 games this season, will go for $400 and can be obtained beginning Jan. 20 at the ticket office at legendary Gill Coliseum, by calling 1-800-GOBEAVS or by visiting osubeavers.com.

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