By Steve Stone for MSNsportsNET.com
December 30, 2009
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University baseball team is predicted to finish sixth in the BIG EAST pre-season coaches’ poll, announced today by the conference.
The Mountaineers earned 79 total votes. West Virginia finished the 2009 season with a 37-18 overall record, including a 17-10 mark in the BIG EAST. In last season’s preseason selection, WVU was picked seventh in the coaches’ poll but finished third in the regular season.
Junior shortstop Jedd Gyorko was named the BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year, and was a unanimous selection for the all-BIG EAST Team. The Morgantown native finished his sophomore season with a .421 batting average, eight home runs, 58 RBIs, a school-record 28 doubles and 96 base hits. Gyorko has earned preseason second-team All-America honors from the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and Collegiate Baseball Newspaper.
Juniors Jarryd Summers and Dan DiBartolomeo also made the all-BIG EAST Team. Summers finished his sophomore campaign as one of the top pitchers in the conference, going 7-3 with a 3.05 ERA and 99 strikeouts in 94.1 innings pitched. DiBartolomeo ended his sophomore season as West Virginia’s all-time single-season batting average leader, hitting .439 with eight home runs and 59 RBIs.
“We’re very proud of Jedd, Jarryd and Dan for their preseason recognition,” coach Greg Van Zant said. “Our staff is looking for them to produce once again this season and we have plenty of confidence in each player.”
Louisville was tabbed as the conference favorite with 119 votes, followed by USF with 113 votes. Connecticut, St. John’s and Notre Dame were picked third, fourth and fifth, respectively, followed by West Virginia.
Rounding out the seven through 12 spots are Cincinnati, Rutgers, Pitt, Seton Hall, Villanova and Georgetown.
West Virginia begins its season on Feb. 19, 2010, at No. 17 Coastal Carolina in the Caravelle Resort Tournament in Conway, S.C. First pitch is set for 4 p.m.