Jan. 27, 2004
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - UNLV has been picked to win the Mountain West Conference regular season baseball title, marking the first time a team other than San Diego State was picked to win the league. In a vote of the six MWC head coaches, the Rebels received four-of-six first-place votes, while San Diego State received two.
The Rebels collected 24 points to capture the top spot in the poll, followed by the Aztecs with 22 points. BYU earned 15 points to place third in the poll. New Mexico (12 points) and Utah (12 points) tied for fourth in the standings, while Air Force ranked sixth with five points.
Defending regular season and conference tournament champion UNLV, which had never been picked higher than third in the preseason poll prior to this year, posted a 47-17 overall mark (24-6 MWC) last season, setting an MWC record for wins. The Aztecs, who tied BYU for second in last year's MWC race, have reached the championship game of the conference tournament each of the past four years. SDSU posted a 29-32 overall record and an 18-12 MWC slate last year. BYU, conference tournament champions in 2001 and 2002, was 30-24 overall a year ago. New Mexico is coming off a 34-26 campaign in 2003, including a 17-13 MWC mark (fourth). Utah was 24-32 overall (10-20 MWC) and Air Force was 15-39 (3-27 MWC).
The season is underway as San Diego State is closing out a series at Hawai`i-Hilo this week. BYU opens the season at California Jan. 29 and UNLV travels to No. 8 Cal State Fullerton Feb. 6. Air Force visits New Mexico State Feb. 7 to start the season, while UNLV hosts Western Kentucky Feb. 13. New Mexico starts the 2004 campaign with the Baseball Fiesta at Isotopes Park Feb. 20-22. The conference season is slated to begin March 18-19.
MWC Preseason Baseball Coaches Poll Pl. Team (1st votes) Points 1. UNLV (4) 24 2. San Diego State (2) 22 3. BYU 15 4T. New Mexico 12 Utah 12 6. Air Force 5