Pac-12 Baseball opens 2018 season on Friday

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San Francisco - Opening day for the 2018 Pac-12 Baseball campaign features all 11 league teams in action on Friday, leading off a 35-game schedule for the first weekend of the Conference's 102nd season.

IN THE RANKINGS: The USA Today/ESPN Top 25 Coaches Preseason Poll has three Pac-12 teams ranked. OREGON STATE leads the way as the No. 2 ranked team nationally, followed by UCLA at No. 14 and Stanford at No. 16.

The NCBWA has four Pac-12 teams in the preseason top-35 with No. 2 Oregon State, No. 12 UCLA, No. 13 Stanford and No. 30 ARIZONA.

Baseball America tabs three Pac-12 teams in its preseason top-25 with Oregon State at No. 2, followed by No. 9 Stanford and No. 13 UCLA.

Collegiate Baseball includes four Pac-12 teams in the top-40 preseason rankings: Oregon State is No. 2, UCLA is No. 14, Stanford is No. 24 and Arizona is No. 36.

The Pac-12 coaches felt similarly in the preseason coaches poll voting Oregon State the preseason favorite for the third consecutive season, followed by Stanford, UCLA, Arizona and California to round out the top five.

STAR POWER: The Pac-12 has 21 total preseason All-America selections from six schools. Oregon State had four student-athletes featured on three different preseason All-America lists- National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA), Collegiate Baseball and Baseball America. OSU first baseman Nick Madrigal collected first-team selections on all three polls, while OREGON pitcher Kenyon Yovan garnered a pair of first team All-America selections.

Baseball America Preseason All-Americans
First Team

Nick Madrigal, OSU, 2B
Tanner Dodson, CAL, UTL
Second Team
Cadyn Grenier, OSU, SS
Alfonso Rivas, ARIZ, 1B
Nico Hoerner, STAN, SS
Kris Bubic, STAN, SP

NCBWA Preseason All-Americans
First Team

Nick Madrigal, OSU, 2B
Alfonso Rivas, ARIZ, 1B
Kenyon Yovan, ORE, RP
Second Team
Jake Mulholland, OSU, RP
Andrew Vaughn, CAL, 1B
Third Team
Kris Bubic, STAN, SP
Jon Olson, UCLA, SP

Collegiate Baseball Preseason All-Americans
First Team

Luke Heimlich, OSU, LHP
Nick Madrigal, OSU, 2B
Kenyon Yovan, ORE, RP
Third Team
Kris Bubic, STAN, SP
Jon Olson, UCLA, SP
Jake Mulholland, OSU, RP
Andrew Vaughn, CAL, 1B
Nico Hoerner, STAN, SS

GOLDEN SPIKES: The USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Preseason Watch List features 50 amateurs, six of which are student-athletes from four different Pac-12 teams. With six players, the Pac-12 is tied for the third-most representatives among all conferences. California and Stanford are 2-of-6 total schools with two players on the watch list. Now in its 40th year recognizing the top amateur baseball player in the country, seven former Pac-12 baseball players have won the award, most recently pitcher Trevor Bauer of UCLA in 2011.

USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Preseason Watch List
Kris Bubic, STAN, SP
Tanner Dodson, CAL, UTL
Nico Hoerner, STAN, SS
Nick Madrigal, OSU, 2B
Alfonso Rivas, ARIZ, 1B
Andrew Vaughn, CAL, 1B

STOPPER OF THE YEAR: The Pac-12 has four student-athletes on the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Preseason Watch List. Arizona State’s Connor Higgins, California’s Erik Martinez, Oregon State’s Jake Mulholland and Oregon’s Kenyon Yovan. The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association will be presenting the Stopper of the Year Award to the top relief pitcher in Division I baseball for the 14th straight year at the College World Series on Saturday, June 16, 2018. 

DRAFT: Every Pac-12 school had at least one student-athlete selected in the 2017 MLB Draft, with a total of 46 Pac-12 players drafted. Four Pac-12 baseball players were drafted among the top 75 draft picks with Oregon’s David Peterson as the first Pac-12 player to be drafted with the 20th overall pick to the New York Mets.

10 – Stanford
6 – Arizona, UCLA
5 – Oregon State
4 - Utah, Washington
3 – Oregon, Washington State
2 – California, USC
1 – Arizona State

FACES IN THE DUGOUT:  Stanford head coach Mark Marquess retired last year after 41 seasons with the most wins in Pac-12 history and fourth-most wins in Division I history. Marquess is one of only five NCAA coaches to reach 1,600 career wins and only three have done so at a single school. A member of the American Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame, he led Stanford to two NCAA titles, advanced to 14 CWS, appeared in 29 NCAA Regionals and won at least a share of nine Pac-12 titles. For the first time in program history, Stanford baseball retired a number and No. 9 will be forever remembered. David Esquer will succeed coach Marquess’ legacy and is very familiar with the program. He played shortstop under coach Marquess on Stanford's 1987 national championship team, and served as an assistant for the Cardinal from 1991-96. After spending 18 years as the head coach at California, Esquer will continue his venture in the Pac-12 supporting a new look in the 2018 season.

Former Golden Bears pitching coach and major league pitcher Mike Neu became the 11th baseball head coach in California program history on July 5, 2017. Neu established himself as one of the Pac-12's top pitching coaches and recruiters as Cal's pitching coach from 2012-2015, helping the Bears compile a team ERA of 3.03 his last year for the program's second-best mark since 1976. Neu returns to Berkeley after two years as head coach at the University of the Pacific where he guided the Tigers to 40 wins over two seasons.

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