West Coast Conference Coaches Poll picks BYU to finish fourth

Colton Shaver runs to first earlier this season. Shaver and the Cougars went 0-2 in the WCC tournament. (Universe Archives)
Colton Shaver runs to first base last season. Shaver was selected as the WCC preseason Player of the Year. (Universe Archives)

The West Coast Conference released its preseason baseball Coaches Poll Feb. 9 and WCC coaches aren’t particularly high on the Cougars this season.

Although BYU won the conference title last year, the Cougars were picked to finish in fourth place behind San Diego, Gonzaga and Pepperdine in 2017.

San Diego finished with 77 points in the poll, Gonzaga 73 points, Pepperdine 63, narrowly beating out BYU’s 59 points.

BYU baseball coach Mike Littlewood said the team doesn’t care much about preseason polls.

“The only exciting thing about seeing all of these preseason polls is that it means the season is right around the corner; other than that they don’t mean a whole lot,” Littlewood said. “As a program we don’t waste any time looking at preseason polls and we know what’s important is where we actually stand when the season ends.”

Littlewood’s comment is vindicated by last year’s preseason Coaches Poll which picked San Diego to finish first and BYU fifth. The two teams switched places by the end of the season as BYU won the league and San Diego finished in fifth place.

Other polls picked BYU to finish this season near the top of the conference.

Baseball America Magazine picked the Cougars to win the league, while D1 Baseball.com has BYU finishing second.

The WCC coaches also voted on a preseason All-Conference team and two Cougars made the cut.

Junior first baseman Colton Shaver and sophomore outfielder Keaton Kringlen were honored with the preseason selections. Shaver was also picked as the preseason Player of the Year for the WCC and Kringlen finished last season as the WCC Freshman of the Year.

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