Jan. 14, 2009
The West Coast Conference had two teams recognized in the 2009 in the National Collegiate Baseball Writer's Association (NCBWA) pre-season top 35 poll. San Diego was ranked 18th, Pepperdine 21st, and Santa Clara was among those receiving votes.
San Diego (44-17), fresh off its fourth WCC Championship, ended last season ranked No. 18 by the NCBWA and were also ranked No. 17 in the 20009 Collegiate Baseball pre-season top-40. San Diego went 3-2 in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament last year, losing to eventual College World Series champion, Fresno State in the regional championship. Led by 11th year head coach, Rich Hill, the Toreros will have a solid core of returning players including Team USA gold medalist AJ Griffin (JR., RHP), first-team All-WCC performer James Meador (JR., OF), All-WCC honorable mention honorees Kevin Muno (JR., OF) and Jose Valerio (SR., 1B) along with All-WCC Freshman team performers Sammy Solis (SO., LHP) and Kyle Blair (SO., RHP). Griffin has already received recognition as he was named a first team pre-season all-american by the NCBWA, and along with Solis and Bair, was named to this year's Brooks Wallace Award watch list.
Pepperdine (38-21) is coming off a runner-up finish in last season's WCC Championships and went 2-2 in the opening round of last year's NCAA Tournament, losing to host Stanford in the championship game of the regional. Pepperdine ended the season receiving votes in the last NCBWA poll. The Waves will be led by sixth year head coach Steve Rodriguez, and return 19 letterwinners and six position starters. Highlighting the list of returnees is Nick Gaudi (JR., RHP), who was named a 2009 second-team pre-season all-american by the NCBWA. The Waves also return a number of players from last season's All-WCC first team in Ryan Heroy (SR., 1B), Bryce Mendonca (SR., 3B), and Nathan Newman (SR., RHP).
Santa Clara (33-22) is coming off its first 30 win season since the 2003 campaign, when it went 31-26. Led by eighth year head coach Mark O'Brien, the Broncos will return reigning WCC Freshman of the Year Thain Simon (SO., RHP), who has already received numerous pre-season accolades, including being named to this year's Brooks Wallace Award watch list and a second team pre-season all-american by Collegiate Baseball. Joining Simon as a pre-season all-american is Tommy Medica (JR., C), who was named to the third team by Collegiate Baseball. Also returning are members of last year's WCC All-First team in Medina, Brady Fuerst (SR., 2B), Nate Garcia (SO., RHP) and Jon Karcich (JR., SS).