NAPERVILLE, Ill. — On the eve of the opening day of the 2013 college baseball season, the Great West Conference coaches picked Utah Valley as the favorite to win its fourth straight league title. The preseason poll was announced Thursday by the conference office.
The Wolverines open play Friday at the Palm Springs Invitational against Gonzaga at 10 a.m. PT before a 1 p.m. contest vs. host Oregon State.
Utah Valley is the only champion in GWC history, winning three-straight GWC championships, as well as the GWC’s three postseason tournament titles. The Wolverines, who were undefeated in conference play a year ago with a 28-0 league record, are 76-4 all-time in GWC contests.
UVU had the best winning percentage in the nation last year with an overall record of 47-12 and is a near-unanimous choice for another conference title this season. Utah Valley received seven of eight first-place votes for a total of 63 points, while Houston Baptist received the other first-place vote and came in second in the poll with 46 points.
NJIT was close behind the Huskies in third place with 45 points, followed by Texas-Pan American with 40 points. The Highlanders and Broncs tied for second in the GWC last year with 16-12 marks. Northern Colorado, which finished tied for fourth in conference play last season with HBU at 15-13, was fifth in the 2013 preseason poll with 34 points. North Dakota came in sixth in the poll with 31 points, followed by NYIT and Chicago State which garnered 16 and 13 points, respectively.
The quest for the 2013 GWC title will begin on April 5 with a full slate of weekend conference games. The regular-season champion will be determined by a single-round robin of four-game series. NJIT will host the 2013 GWC Postseason Tournament on May 21-25, at Bears and Eagles Riverfront Stadium in Newark, N.J.
Clint Burgi is the assistant athletic director for sports information at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.