WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - UC San Diego is favored to place second in the 2013 California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) regular-season baseball race, as voted by the league's 11 head coaches in its preseason poll released on Thursday.
The Tritons enter the upcoming campaign as four-time defending CCAA regular-season and tournament champions, and earned two of 11 first-place votes in totaling 90 points in the poll.
Chico State, which shared the CCAA's regular-season crown with UCSD a year ago, each with identical 26-14 league marks, is the coaches' pick to win the 2013 title. The defending NCAA West Region champion Wildcats garnered eight first-place nods on their way to accumulating 98 points.
The remaining first-place vote went to Cal Poly Pomona, putting the Broncos in the third slot with 79 points. They are followed by Sonoma State (77) and Cal State San Bernardino (55), the two teams that joined UCSD and Chico State at the 2012 CCAA Championship in La Jolla.
Rounding out this year's preseason poll were Cal State L.A. (53), Cal State Monterey Bay (47), Cal State Stanislaus (45), Cal State Dominguez Hills (23), San Francisco State (20) and Cal State East Bay (18).
With the teams occupying the top four positions in the poll favored to qualify for the CCAA Championship at Stockton's neutral-site Banner Island Ballpark, May 9-12, Chico State was also projected by seven coaches to end UCSD's four-year reign in lifting the tournament trophy. Cal Poly Pomona was tabbed to win the double-elimination event by three managers, and Sonoma State by one.
Under the guidance of Eric Newman, who was named the 2012 CCAA Coach of the Year at the end of his first season in charge of the Tritons, UCSD returns a group more than capable of not merely trumping the league poll's projections, but also making a first return trip since 2010 to Cary, N.C., site of the NCAA Championship.
Newman welcomes back senior All-American Danny Susdorf, who led the team with a .393 batting average while putting away 125 defensive chances without an error in center field, as well as right-handed pitching ace Ryan Goodbrand, who earned All-America honorable mention for his first year in the program after posting an incredible 11-0 win-loss record (2.90 ERA) over his 15 starts.
Returning in addition to that duo are junior stalwarts Garrett Tuck and Nick La Face, both All-West Region selections in 2012, as well as Spencer Frazier, Justin Rahn and Richard Seigel, all of whom picked up all-conference honorable mention a year ago.
UCSD was listed at No. 23 by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper and No. 17 by D2 Baseball News in the first two polls released this preseason for the NCAA Division II. The Tritons have since made it into the College Baseball Lineup preseason ranking at No. 20. (Click here for poll and here for UCSD team profile.) The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) rating and list of individual preseason honors will be released in the coming days.
The Tritons host two more exhibition games in the lead-up to Opening Night on Friday, Feb. 1. UCSD will take on Cal State San Marcos, weather permitting, this Friday, Jan. 25, and Vanguard University next Tuesday, Jan. 29. First pitch for both contests at Triton Ballpark is slated for 6:00 p.m. Admission is free.
-- UCSDtritons.com --