Pac-12 baseball coaches vote UCLA as 2019 favorite

Scott Chandler

SAN FRANCISCO - In a polling of the Pac-12 baseball coaches, UCLA has been selected as the preseason favorite to win the Conference title for the 2019 season. This is the third time in program history and the first since 2015 that the Bruins were chosen to win the Pac-12, which was also the last time UCLA clinched the Conference crown.

Led by head coach John Savage, UCLA advanced to the 2018 Minnesota Regional in the NCAA Tournament, notching 38 or more wins for the fifth time in the last eight seasons. The Bruins return a strong nucleus of position players including 2018 All-Pac-12 selections in second baseman Chase Strumpf, first baseman Michael Toglia and outfielder Jeremy Ydens. After finishing fourth in the Conference last year, the Bruins have now been ranked inside the top ten in every major national preseason poll released this offseason.

2018 Pac-12 Champion STANFORD was selected to finish second for the third-consecutive year. In head coach David Esquer’s first season at the helm, the Cardinal clinched its first league title since 2004, posted its second-highest winning percentage in program history (.793) and reached the NCAA Regional for the second-consecutive season. A consensus first team All-American, sophomore reliever Jack Little returns to the mound after tying a program record with 16 saves.

Under the direction of first year head coach and longtime associate head coach Pat Bailey, NCAA Champion OREGON STATE was tabbed to finish third. In 11 years with OSU, Bailey helped the program to the 2018 national championship, three trips to Omaha and nine overall postseason appearances. Bailey replaces retired legendary head coach Pat Casey, who led the Beavers to all three of its NCAA titles. The 2018 CWS Most Outstanding Player Adley Rutschman is back behind the plate after setting a school record 102 hits and 83 runs batted in last season.

ARIZONA finished fourth with 67 points and WASHINGTON, a year after reaching the NCAA College World Series for the first time in program history, totaled 56 points to round out the top five.

ARIZONA STATE takes the sixth spot with 59 points and OREGON tallied 49 points for seventh. CALIFORNIA received 37 points for eighth and USC was tabbed to finish ninth with 32 points. WASHINGTON STATE is 10th with 15 points and UTAH totaled 14 points for 11th.

The 2019 Pac-12 baseball campaign begins Friday, Feb. 15 with all 11 teams competing, featuring Oregon State in the Sanderson Ford College Baseball Classic and California and Stanford competing in the Angels College Classic. Pac-12 Networks will broadcast over 95 baseball games this season, including 18 rivalry matchups as well as a two-game set featuring Oklahoma State at Oregon State May 4-5. For more information, including a full TV schedule, please visit http://www.pac-12.com/.

The following are the results of the preseason coaches’ poll. Ten points are awarded for a first-place vote, nine points for a second-place vote, eight for a third-place vote, etc. First-place votes are in parentheses. Coaches are not allowed to vote for their own teams.

2019 PAC-12 BASEBALL PRESEASON COACHES POLL

Rank School (first place votes) Points
1. UCLA (8) 97
2. Stanford (2) 90
3. Oregon State (1) 85
4. Arizona 67
5. Washington 60
6. Arizona State 59
7. Oregon  49
8. California 37
9. USC 32
10. Washington State 15
11. Utah 14
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