Chico State tops preseason baseball poll

CHICO, Calif. - In spite of Cal State Monterey Bay and Chico State receiving equal votes for the 2014 California Collegiate Athletic Association Championship Tournament title, the Wildcats were selected for the third time in as many years to capture the regular-season baseball title, following a vote of league coaches.

The NCAA West Region runner-up collected 89 points and one (1) first-place vote to finish ahead of the reigning CCAA regular-season champion Otters, which totaled 84 points and garnered five (5) first-place votes.  Sonoma State is projected to finish third with 77 points and one (1) first-place vote, while the defending Conference Tournament Champion Cal State L.A. was selected to finish fourth 74 points and two (2) first-place votes.

Cal Poly Pomona also received two (2) first-place votes to go along with 69 total points to rank fifth in this year's balloting.

UC San Diego (65) is predicted to come in sixth with Cal State East Bay (49), Cal State Dominguez Hills (31), Cal State San Bernardino (30), Cal State Stanislaus (22), and San Francisco State (15) rounding out the season's standings. 

The Wildcats and Otters snagged four (4) winning votes each to the 2014 CCAA Championship Tournament that is scheduled for May 8-11 at Banner Island Ballpark in Stockton.  Sonoma State and Cal State L.A. are also projected to make an appearance at this year's tournament with the Seawolves collecting two (2) championship title votes and the Golden Eagles one (1) title vote.

Under the direction of eight-year head coach Dave Taylor, Chico State wrapped up another stellar season with a 37-18 overall record, which led to its 16th NCAA Championship Tournament appearance.  Despite the loss of 17 letterwinners, the Wildcats return 12 from last year's squad, including All-West Region pitcher Nick Baker who earned eight wins in 15 appearances with a 2.36 ERA during the 2013 season.

Cal State Monterey Bay is coming off of its best season in program history with a 39-17 overall record and a Conference leading 29-11 CCAA record.  The Otters will look to starting pitcher, Jeff Owen who led the CCAA in wins (12) and strikeouts (98) and 2013 CCAA Co-Newcomer of the Year Mark Hurley to lead this year's squad.

Four CCAA baseball teams have been named in the Collegiate Baseball's Preseason Poll.  Chico State debuts at No. 14, followed by No. 18 Cal State Monterey Bay, No. 37 Cal Poly Pomona, and No. 39 UC San Diego.

The start of the 2014 season is slated for this Saturday, Feb. 1 with Cal Poly Pomona, Cal State Dominguez Hills, Cal State L.A., Cal State Monterey Bay, Cal State San Bernardino, Chico State, and San Francisco State opening the season with non-conference action.  CCAA play is set to begin on Friday, Feb. 14.

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