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2020 WCC Preview: Expect Another Free-For-All

Season Preview

Seven teams had a winning record in West Coast Conference play last year. All seven finished with overall records that were at least .500. Both were firsts, but despite some strong resumés, the WCC was again forgotten when at-large bids were announced on Labor Day. Loyola Marymount represented well after winning the WCC Tournament. The Lions beat No. 1 seed UCLA in their regional opener and pushed the Bruins to the bring before falling in the regional championship.

A lot of things could change this season, though. There was an offseason talent drain across the conference. Twenty-three WCC players were drafted and all but one (Pepperdine’s Will Jensen) signed. Last year, there were nine All-WCC first-team returners and nine more from the second-team that were back. Only one member of the 2019 All-WCC first team is back this season (Gonzaga’s Alek Jacob). The conference also saw the departure of one of its young stars as WCC Freshman of the Year Tyler Thornton chose to transfer to Arizona State after Eric Valenzuela was hired away from Saint Mary’s by Long Beach State. Former CSUN head coach Greg Moore, who was previously the pitching coach at San Francisco, takes over for Valenzuela, but he’s not the only familiar face taking on a new head coaching role. 

Nathan Choate was promoted from pitching coach to head coach at Loyola Marymount after Jason Gill took the Southern California job. At Pacific, Chris Rodriguez was named the interim head coach after Ryan Garko resigned from the head coach position to return to the professional ranks with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Our conference preview includes:

 

Projected Standings

Bold indicates 2019 regional team, and records are from 2019. Teams are listed in order of projected 2020 finish.

 CONFERENCEOVERALL
Gonzaga18-931-24
BYU19-836-17
Loyola Marymount15-1234-25
Pepperdine14-1324-25
San Diego14-1332-21
Saint Mary's17-1035-22
San Francisco15-1230-26
Portland7-1925-27
Pacific10-1623-26
Santa Clara5-2212-40

Projected Regional Team (1): Gonzaga

Player of the Year: Trevin Esquerra, 1B, Loyola Marymount

Pitcher of the Year: Nick Frasso, RHP, Loyola Marymount

Freshman of the Year: Chris Campos, 3B/RHP, Saint Mary’s

 

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