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HCA: WSU baseball picked 10th in Pac-12 coaches poll

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Of course, only 11 Pac-12 teams field baseball teams... So... Take THAT Utah.

Dean Hare/WSU Photo Services

In case you’ve missed it... It’s winter.

Our friends in the great northwest are suffering through the great “snow-pocalypse” of 2019. Meanwhile, my first Chicago winter greeted me with constant freezing rain that encased my windshield in an impenetrable icy shield and a polar vortex that saw wind chill temperatures reach 50-below.

Winter has been rough on all of us. The good news is that summer is just around the corner, and the first sign of summer is the return of baseball.

First pitch in the college game is set for Friday across the country. The Cougs also open up on Friday when they take on Saint Mary’s in Moraga, Calif. To get ready for the season, the Pac-12 released their preseason coaches poll earlier this week. And, after a 16-33-1 campaign last season, the Cougs checked in at 10th with 15 points, placing ahead of last place Utah, who had 14 points in the poll. You can check out the full poll here.

The low expectations aren’t exactly surprising for the Cougs in year four under manager Marty Lees. WSU underwent a lot of turnover, adding 21 new faces, including 16 high school recruits and five transfers. The Cougs lost five players from their starting nine and bring back just two pitchers that recorded more than five starts in the 2018 season. It’s going to be a young squad on the field in 2019. The lack of depth that comes with the turnover hurts, but the Cougs are excited about the potential.

“There’s some pieces that can be put together,” Lees told CougFan. “I wish we had a little more depth in terms of our position players, but I feel like at each spot, we’re really solid.”

On offense, the Cougs will be driven by Dillon Plew. He hit .277 in 50 games last season and will likely be the top returner player on a team that lost their top three offensive players from last season. On defense, he’s split time between second and third base during his career, but will make the move to first base this season.

Washington State opens with four games at St. Mary’s starting on Friday (and including a doubleheader on Saturday). They’ll stay in California for four against Santa Clara starting February 21 before heading to Pullman for their home opener against Nevada in a four game set starting February 28.

Elsewhere in the coaches poll, Oregon State was picked to finish 3rd in the conference. The Beavers are the defending national champions, but they’re preparing for the season with out legendary head coach Pat Casey, who retired back in September. UCLA finished in the top spot, while the defending conference champions from Stanford were voted 2nd.

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