BYU baseball: Cougars picked sixth in WCC preseason poll

By Ralph R. Zobell

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 29 2014 4:40 p.m. MST

Brock Whitney waits for the ball to make the tag. He was a first-team All-West Coast Conference preseason pick and was also All-WCC last season.

Mark A. Philbrick, BYU

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Co-captains Brock Whitney and Hayden Nielsen of BYU are pre-season All-West Coast Conference selections, while the Cougars’ baseball team is picked to finish sixth by the WCC coaches.

San Diego was picked to defend the WCC title in 2014, followed by Pepperdine and San Francisco, each of whom tallied first-place votes along with BYU, as announced by the league office Wednesday. Loyola Marymount was selected fourth, followed by BYU, Gonzaga, Portland, Pacific, Saint Mary’s and Santa Clara.

Whitney, a senior first baseman from South Jordan, was an All-WCC First Team pick last season, leading BYU to a second-place tie and a berth in the four-team postseason playoff. Nielsen, a sophomore shortstop from Spanish Fork, was honorable mention All-WCC last season along with being named to its all-freshman team.

“It’s always good to be underestimated,” BYU coach Mike Littlewood said regarding BYU being picked to finish sixth. “To me it’s a positive. That's where we were picked last season, too. Our league is so competitive that any number of teams could win. I don’t take this pick as a slap in the face. It’s how we finish in the end that counts. If we step up, we will really surprise some people.”

BYU opens its season on Feb. 14, against Kansas in a four-game series at Peoria, Ariz. The Cougars have 18 lettermen, six of which are starters returning from a team that finished 32-21 last season overall and 15-9 in the WCC.

Ralph R. Zobell has worked for BYU Athletic Media Relations in various capacities for over 30 years. You can view his bio at http://byucougars.com/staff/athletics/ralph-zobell or contact him at ralph_zobell@byu.edu.

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