NCAA College Football, Basketball, and Baseball - SouthernCollegeSports.com
SouthernCollegeSports.com
CONTACT SCS.com
SCS.com STORE
HOOPS FEATURES
 TV Listings
HOOPS COLUMNS
 Daniel
HOOPS LINKS
 Live Scoreboard
 Conference Standings
 Top 25 Polls
FOOTBALL FEATURES
 Free Pick'Em Contest
FOOTBALL COLUMNS
 David
FOOTBALL LINKS
 Live Scoreboard
 Conference Standings
 Top 25 and BCS Polls
 Statistics
ABOUT US
 The Work Force
Site Developed by AdcockDesign.com



2007 COLLEGE BASEBALL PREVIEW: WEST COAST AND BIG WEST
January 20, 2007

SCS.comCollege baseball is just around the corner, and the west has plenty to look forward to this season. The Big West and the West Coast Conferences are just as solid as the Pac-10 but are often overshadowed. Cal State-Fullerton, Long Beach State, UC-Irvine, Pepperdine, and San Diego are all NCAA caliber teams. Fullerton is fresh off another College World Series appearance and will be a very good team again this year, while Pepperdine is ranked in the top 25 and could make a good preseason run. Gonzaga is an up and comer, and they could make the tournament with a few breaks. The talent level in these two conferences may be only second to the SEC.

WEST COAST | BIG WEST

WEST COAST CONFERENCE PREVIEW

The West Coast Conference has a good run in 2006 with Pepperdine and San Francisco sharing the conference title. San Diego was an NCAA Tourney team also. Only one other team finished above .500 in the conference, that being Loyola Marymount. This conference that is made up of eight private schools is becoming a solid league. The Pepperdine Waves have dominated the conference for many yeas, but San Francisco is catching up. Loyola Marymount, Gonzaga, and Santa Clara are making strides on the diamond as well. Look for Pepperdine to be the favorite with three other teams scraping to make it a fight. I say the West Coast will get two bids in 2007, down one from a year ago.

The Favorites

Pepperdine will be the favorite in 2007. The Waves will be looking for their fourth straight conference title. They will be returning seven starters, including All American pitcher Barry Enright. Shortstop Danny Worth hit .310 a year ago for the Wave. Enright stands at 13-0 vs West Coast teams in two seasons. San Diego was very good in 2006, making the NCAA Tourney for the third time in five seasons. They also return WCC Freshman of the Year Josh Romanski. Senior Adam Abruzzo brings back 58 RBI, and he was a 39th round pick in the 2006 draft. Head Coach Rich Hill can reach the 600 win mark with the Tororos first win this year. Look for this to be a two-horse race between San Diego and Pepperdine, as they return the most talent for this season. Pepperdine is a top 25 team with a lot of potential. Enright will be one of the top hurlers in the country for 2007.

The Sleepers

The Gonzaga Bulldogs are my sleeper team in the WCC for 2007. The Dogs open a brand new ballpark in March and were an excellent fielding team last season. The team committed just 49 errors all season long. They also return bash brothers Darin Holcomb and Ryan Wiegand. The dynamic duo combined for 102 RBI last season. Gonzaga was on track to make the NCAA Tourney before the wheels came off last year, and I think they could get in if they get good pitching this year. San Francisco won its first ever conference title in 2006, but I doubt that they will repeat. They may not be a darkhorse or sleeper, but they are not a favorite either. If the Dons can get some hitting and lefty Aaron Poreda can carry them, they may make the NCAA again.

The Rest

Loyola Marymount was 11-10 in the WCC last year, but I donít think they will do much better than that this year. They are not a lower tiered team, but they are behind the favorites and the sleepers. Santa Clara is getting better, but the Broncs still have a ways to go. Lefty Matt Wickswat went 9-2 in 2006, but he must get some help if the Broncs want to finish above .500 in league play. Portland and Saint Maryís will not be a factor in the league this year. Saint Maryís finished above .500 last year, the first time since 1991, while Portland was a woeful 3-18 in WCC play.

The Preseason Standings Projection

1. Pepperdine
2. San Diego
3. Gonzaga
4. San Francisco
5. Loyola Marymount
6. Santa Clara
7. St. Mary's
8. Portland
Projected NCAA Tournament Teams: Pepperdine, San Diego
NCAA Bubble Teams: Gonzaga, San Francisco

The All-Conference Team

C: Jordan Abruzzo, San Diego
1B: Ryan Wiegand, Gonzaga
2B: Eric Farris, Loyola Marymount SS: Danny Worth, Pepperdine
3B: Darin Holcomb, Gonzaga
OF: Josh Romanski, San Diego
OF: Adrian Ortiz, Pepperdine
OF: Luke Salas, Pepperdine
SP: Barry Enright, Pepperdine
SP: Aaron Poreda, San Francisco
SP: Brad Meyers, Loyola Marymount
RP: Brett Hunter, Pepperdine
RP: Brandon Harmon, Gonzaga
Preseason Player of the Year: Barry Enright, Pepperdine

The Pepperdine Waves have dominated the West Coast Conference over the years, and I predict that trend will not end this year. They are loaded with All Conference players and the preseason player of the year. They are a top 25 team and can make a run into the postseason, and possibly the Super Regionals. Gonzaga is the upstart team, but they will have to get some breaks to make the regionals. San Diego will go to the NCAA tourney once again, and that is becoming a trend for the Toreros.

BIG WEST CONFERENCE PREVIEW

The Big West is known for Cal State-Fullerton and the Long Beach State. However the conference is getting better, with a team like UC-Irvine becoming a good program that can compete with Fullerton and Long Beach. The Titans are a national program, and Long Beach has great tradition, although they have not been as good over the past few seasons. CSF eyes a return trip to Omaha, while LBSU wants to return to past glory. The Anteaters of Irvine want to build off of the success of last season. The Big West will be very strong this year, as southern California is a good place for college baseball. The entire league is only hours away from each other so it is very fan friendly.

The Favorites

The Titans of Cal State-Fullerton are once again the favorite, as they are a concenous top 15 team and are loaded again. Long Beach State and UC-Irvine may be able to fight the Titans for the conference title though. Wes Roemer is a stud pitcher for Fullerton and will be a first team All American. Blair Erickson of Irvine is an All American pitcher in some circles as well. Fullerton lost a lot of good players, but an excellent recruiting class will allow them not to miss a beat. Evan McArthur had a solid year in 2006 and will be called up on as a go to guy for the Titans. UC-Irvine may be just as talented as any tean in the conference this year, and if the Anteaters reach their potential they could make the tourney. The draft hit the Big West hard, so Fullerton will be young, allowing Long Beach and Irvine a chance to win the conference. Two dozen Big West players were drafted last year, and the Titans were hit the hardest. When you have twelve National Championships, it is easy to replace those players. John Curtis and Evan McArthur must step up to lead the Titan team with Wes Roemer.

The Sleepers

UC-Riverside and Cal Poly will be the sleepers. Both could be terrible or pretty good. The ability is in place, but they both need to win early and build confidence. James Simmons and Adam Riefer are All Conference pitchers, so Riverside is solid on the hill, though hitting the ball is where they come up short. The Mustangs of Poly had a very strong year in 2006, and this year they will fall off some. Grant Desme will be the all everything outfielder for Poly, but he will not be good enough to do it on his own. Poly needs to have a good year this year to set the table in 2008. They have a very good recruiting class in the works, so a winning year could go along way towards next season. These teams could be in the mix with a few breaks!

The Rest

The bottom feeders of the Big West are Santa Barbara, Northridge, and Pacific. Pacific shortstop Justin Beam and Northridge outfielder Brett Blumenthal are the bright spots of these three teams. If any of these team could get close to .500, it would be a successful season. The Big West is known for being very good up top and weak on the bottom. This year there are some "tweener" teams, which is a change. For years so many of the Big West teams did not focus on baseball, and Fullerton and Long Beach dominated. Now everyone is trying to compete, but it just takes time.

The Preseason Standings Projection

1. Cal State-Fullerton
2. Long Beach State
3. UC-Irvine
4. UC-Riverside
5. Cal Poly
6. Pacific
7. UC-Northridge
8. Santa Barbara
Projected NCAA Tournament Teams: Cal State-Fullerton, Long Becah State, UC-Irvine
NCAA Bubble Teams: UC-Riverside

The All-Conference Team

C: John Curtis, Cal State-Fullerton
1B: Shane Petersen, Long Beach State
2B: Cody Cipriano, UC-Irvine
3B: Evan McArthur, Cal State-Fullerton
SS: Justin Beam, Pacific
OF: Robert Perry, Long Beach State
OF: Grant Desme, Cal Poly
OF: Brett Blumerthal, UC-Northridge
SP: Wes Roemer, Cal State-Fullerton
SP: James Simmons, UC-Riverside
SP: Scott Gorgen, UC-Irvine
RP: Blair Erickson, UC-Irvine
RP: Adam Riefer, UC-Riverside
Preseason Player of the Year: Wes Roemer, Cal State-Fullerton

Fullerton will win the Big West, and Irvine will battle Long Beach for second place. All three teams should make the NCAA Tourney. Fullerton will host the Regionals again and will likely go to Omaha if they can secure home field for the Supers. Long Beach should bounce back after last year's 29-26 campaign. One thing is for sure: if you live in sunny Southern California and you miss out on college baseball, you have no one to blame but yourself!

U.S.A.
SCS.com STORE
SCS.com - Shop for NCAA gear here!
ITEMS OF INTEREST
CONFERENCES
CHRIST IN SPORTS
Place your ad here. Contact SCS.com for more info.
SOUTHERNCOLLEGESPORTS.COM
Copyright © 2004-2009 SouthernCollegeSports.com. All rights reserved. This website is an unofficial and independently operated source of news and information not affiliated with any school, team, or league.