Baseball To Open 2009 Season No. 25 In Baseball America Rankings

Jan. 20, 2009

CORVALLIS, Ore. - The Oregon State baseball team will open the 2009 season ranked 25th in the nation, according to a preseason release Tuesday by the publication Baseball America.

Oregon State is one of four Pacific-10 Conference teams in the top 25, and it also marks the fourth set of rankings this season that places the Beavers in the top 40. The four Pac-10 teams are tied for second-most among conferences, following five by the Big 12. The Atlantic Coast Conference also has four in the top 25.

Oregon State, 28-24 a year ago, is also ranked 24th by Rivals.com, 31st by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) and 38th by Collegiate Baseball.

Other Pac-10 teams in the Baseball America top 25 include No. 12 UCLA, No. 13 Arizona State and No. 15 Stanford. Texas A&M is ranked as the No. 1 squad, followed by No. 2 LSU, third-ranked North Carolina, No. 4 Texas and No. 5 Cal-State Fullerton.

The staff of Baseball America determines the top 25 rankings.

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 Grbavac, 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 were made available earlier Tuesday. The packages, which include 27 games this season, will go for $400 and can be obtained at the ticket office at legendary Gill Coliseum, by calling 1-800-GOBEAVS or by visiting osubeavers.com.

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