Written By: WAC Media Relations
DENVER, CO - Grand Canyon is the preseason favorite to win the 2016 Western Athletic Conference baseball title and Lopes' shortstop Paul Panaccione and Sacramento State pitcher Sam Long were selected WAC Preseason Player and Pitcher of the Year respectively in a vote of the league's 10 head coaches, who could not vote for their own team or players.
The Lopes received five of 10 first place votes to edge out Sacramento State, who received four first place votes. Seattle U grabbed the remaining first place vote to take third in the preseason poll, followed closely by 2015 WAC Tournament champion CSU Bakersfield in fourth. NM State was selected fifth and Utah Valley earned the sixth position. UT Rio Grande Valley was selected seventh, followed by Northern Colorado, North Dakota and Chicago State.
Panaccione and Long highlighted the Preseason All-WAC squad. Grand Canyon led the way with five honorees as Garrison Schwartz, Brandon Smith, Jake Repavich and Mick Vorhof joined Panaccione. Sacramento State had two Hornets selected as Vinny Esposito joined Long. Seattle U and CSU Bakersfield each had two honorees as well with Tarik Skubal and Dalton Hurd representing the Redhawks and David Metzgar and Joey Sanchez representing the Roadrunners. Chicago State catcher Cody Freund earned selection, as did Utah Valley outfielder Mark Krueger and UT Rio Grande Valley outfielder Cole Loncar.
2016 Preseason All-WAC Team
Catcher: Cody Freund, So., Chicago State
First Base: Vinny Esposito, So., Sacramento State
Second Base: David Metzgar, Jr., CSU Bakersfield
Third Base: Joey Sanchez,Jr., CSU Bakersfield
Shortstop: Paul Panaccione, Sr., Grand Canyon
Outfield: Garrison Schwartz, So., Grand Canyon
Outfield: Brandon Smith, Sr., Grand Canyon
Outfield: Mark Krueger, Sr., Utah Valley
Starting Pitcher: Sam Long, Jr., Sacramento State
Starting Pitcher: Tarik Skubal, So., Seattle U
Starting Pitcher: Jake Repavich, So., Grand Canyon
Relief Pitcher: Mick Vorhof, So., Grand Canyon
At-Large: Dalton Hurd, So., Seattle U
At-Large: Cole Loncar, Sr., UT Rio Grande Valley
Preseason Player of the Year: Paul Panaccione, Sr., SS, Grand Canyon
Preseason Pitcher of the Year: Sam Long, Jr., LHP, Sacramento State