Willamette Holds Fourth Place in NWC Baseball Poll

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University is picked to finish in fourth place in the Northwest Conference standings this season in the NWC Baseball Preseason Poll in voting by the league's head coaches. Linfield College, which won the NWC title in 2010, was predicted to repeat as the conference champion.

Linfield achieved a 37-13 overall record last year and placed third in the NCAA Division III Tournament. The Wildcats won last year's NWC championship with a 20-4 league mark and a two-game lead in the final standings. Linfield received seven of the nine first place votes and a total of 85 points in this year's NWC Poll.

Willamette concluded the 2010 season with a 16-22 overall record. The Bearcats were 12-12 in the Northwest Conference (4th place tie), including 8-4 during the second half of the NWC schedule. WU received 49 points in the NWC Poll.

Pacific Lutheran University, which went 30-10 and earned an 18-6 record in the NWC last season, was picked second in the poll. The Lutes received two first place votes and 72 points.

The Bruins of George Fox University were third in the NWC Poll with 65 points. GFU achieved a 23-16 overall record in 2010, including 16-8 in the NWC.

Willamette followed in the fourth spot in the poll, while the University of Puget Sound was fifth with 42 points. The Loggers, who tied WU for fourth place in the conference last season at 12-12, finished 2010 with a 19-21 overall mark.

Sixth place in the poll was held by Whitworth University, which concluded last year at 13-27 overall and 10-14 in the NWC. The Pirates received 38 points in the NWC Poll.

Rounding out the poll were Pacific University in seventh, Whitman College in eighth and Lewis & Clark College in ninth. Pacific received 28 points, while Whitman garnered 18 and Lewis & Clark received 15. Last year, Pacific was 15-24 overall (10-14 NWC), with Whitman finishing 5-34 (4-20 NWC) and L&C ending at 9-24 (6-18 NWC).

Willamette's season opener is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 18 at Simpson University in Redding, Calif. Game time is set for 7 p.m. (PST). The Bearcats will play a four-game series against the Red Hawks, including a doubleheader on Saturday, Feb. 19 at 2 p.m. and a single game on Sunday, Feb. 20 at 12 p.m.

The WU home opener is slated for Saturday, March 12 against Linfield College. The Bearcats will play a doubleheader against the Wildcats at 11 a.m. (PST) and will conclude the series with one game on Sunday, March 13 at 1 p.m. (PDT).

NWC Baseball Poll (1st place votes in parentheses)
1. Linfield (7), 85 points, 37-13 overall, 20-4 NWC in 2010
2. Pacific Lutheran (2), 72 points, 30-10 overall, 18-6 NWC
3. George Fox, 65 points, 23-16 overall, 16-8 NWC
4. Willamette, 49 points, 16-22 overall, 12-12 NWC
5. Puget Sound, 42 points, 19-21 overall, 12-12 NWC
6. Whitworth, 38 points, 13-27 overall, 10-14 NWC
7. Pacific, 28 points, 15-24 overall, 10-14 NWC
8. Whitman, 18 points, 5-34 overall, 4-20 NWC
9. Lewis & Clark, 15 points, 9-24 overall, 6-18 NWC

Doug Bloom enters his senior season with 108 runs scored.

Doug Bloom enters his senior season with 108 runs scored.