January 20, 2011

Wildcats No. 6 heading into 2011 play

Baseball Team Earns National Ranking

The Wildcats baseball team has been tabbed as the sixth best team in the country in a poll recently released by Collegiate Baseball. Collegiate Baseball is the most respected new source in all of college baseball and has the longest running poll in the country, starting in 1959.

This marks the fourth consecutive year that the Wildcats have appeared in Top 20 pre-season rankings. It is also WNC's second highest preseason ranking after the 2008 team was tabbed fifth to start the season.

Last season the Wildcats opened as No. 10 and finished with 43 wins. With 209 wins in five years, the Wildcats are averaging more than 41 wins a season since the program's inception.

Head Coach DJ Whittemore said his team is young after graduating some of the top talent in the program's history in 2010.

"We are heading into the season with quite a few unknowns," he said. "We only return seven players from last year, and we are lucky that they include Brooks Klein, who has signed with the University of Nevada, and Pat McMeel, who will play at New Mexico State University after he leaves WNC.

"Despite our youth and inexperience, we think that we have restocked the cupboards well and will be competitive in the always tough Scenic West Conference."

Whittemore said the program graduated some top talent last year, including nine NCAA Division I players (among them: SS - Spencer Ofelt - Cal State Fullerton, RHP; David Carroll - University of Maryland, LHP; Jordan Lewis - University of Houston, RHP; and Kramer Champlin - Arizona State University, RHP.)

WNC opens the season with 16 straight games on the road, including four at No. 3 Central Arizona and No. 12 Yavapai. The season opener is Friday, Jan. 28, in Las Vegas against South Mountain College of Phoenix, AZ.

Western Nevada's cross-state rival, College of Southern Nevada, was ranked 10th in this year's poll. Only one other state (Texas) had two teams in the Top 10.

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