NWC Baseball Preseason Poll | Wildcats tabbed as baseball favorites​

NWC Baseball Preseason Poll | Wildcats tabbed as baseball favorites​

Rk.

Team (1st)

Pts.

’17 Rec. (NWC)

1.

Linfield (4)

62

30-15 (19-5)

2.

Whitworth (2)

55

24-17 (12-12)

3.

Willamette (2)

53

28-14 (18-6)

4.

Pacific Lutheran (1)

47

25-14 (17-7)

5.

George Fox

33

18-20 (12-12)

6.

Whitman

32

17-20 (11-13)

7.

Pacific (Ore.)

21

15-23 (7-17)

8.

Puget Sound

18

14-24 (7-17)

9.

Lewis & Clark

12

7-31 (5-19)

(Points awarded on an 9-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. Coaches could not vote for their own teams.)

HILLSBORO, Ore. — Ahead of what is expected to be a tight 2018 baseball slate, the Linfield Wildcats were picked to repeat as Northwest Conference champions, according to a poll of the nine conference head coaches.

Four teams received at least one first place vote in the preseason poll.

The Wildcats won the NWC regular season and tournament titles last season and were picked to repeat in 2018 by the conference coaches. Led by D3baseball.com Honorable Mention Preseason All-American pitcher Cason Cunningham (Jr., Eugene, Ore.), Linfield received four first place votes and a total of 62 points in the poll.

Slated to finish second, Whitworth received two first place votes and 55 total points in the coaches’ poll. The Pirates are slated to return 2017 Second Team All-NWC honorees, infielder Joel Condreay (Jr., Renton, Wash.) and pitcher Matthew Young (So., Tigard, Ore.).

Entering 2018 predicted to finish third, Willamette picked up 53 points and two first place votes after finishing second in the standings a season ago. The Bearcats return two 2017 First Team All-NWC selections in designated hitter Mason Fessler (Sr., Woodburn, Ore.) and pitcher Matt Steindorf (Jr., Granite Bay, Calif.).

The final first place vote went to Pacific Lutheran, tabbed to finish fourth with 47 points. The Lutes return a pair of 2017 Second Team All-NWC honorees with infielder Anthony Gosline (Sr., Spokane, Wash.) and pitcher Andrew Curran (So., Puyallup, Wash.) slated to return to the fold.

Predicted to finish fifth was George Fox with 33 points. The Bruins are slated to return Matt Voelzke (So., Lake Oswego, Ore.), a 2017 First Team All-NWC utility selection.

Whitman was picked to finish sixth with 32 points, with the Blues returning a 2017 First Team All-NWC outfielder in Joseph Zimmer (Sr., Billings, Mont.).

Pacific (Ore.) was tabbed to finish seventh by the coaches with 21 points, while Puget Sound was picked to finish eighth with 18 points. Lewis & Clark rounds out the preseason poll in ninth with 12 points.

George Fox opens the 2018 season for the Northwest Conference with a February 1 first pitch at Concordia (Texas).

Whitworth and Pacific (Ore.) get underway on February 2 at the Centenary Gents Classic, with the Pirates opening against East Texas Baptist and the Boxers meeting the host Centenary Gents.

Four NWC sides open the season in southern California on February 2, with Lewis & Clark visiting Pomona-Pitzer, Whitman at Whittier, Willamette traveling to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and Linfield meeting Cal Lutheran.

Pacific Lutheran gets the season underway on February 2 against Rhodes in Austin, Texas, while Puget Sound opens 2018 on February 10 against Lewis & Clark in a neutral site game at George Fox.