29. CAL STATE MONTERY BAY OTTERS (39-17)

CAL STATE MONTEREY BAY OTTERS (39-17)
Ottermania ran wild through Seaside as the Otters gave opposition the big boot and followed it up with a running leg drop to finish with the best season in school history. CSUMB captured the program’s first regular season CCAA title and won 39 games (13 more than the previous year’s program record) to complete a remarkable run which ended in the NCAA West Regionals. Unfortunately however, a bulk of those wins came during the regular season. The Otters went a combined 2-4 in the CCAA Championships and West Regional to have both their postseason runs come to an earlier-than-hoped exit.

This year the team won’t be happy to topple a couple of school’s records. Head Coach Walt White and the Otters have their furry little paws set on taking MB to the next level. However the Otters, like many of the teams in the CCAA were hit hard once the last out was made. CSUMB only has one batter back from last season who hit over .300 and All American pitcher Will Anderson went the way of MiLB. There still are many capable players back on campus for another run, but they’ll need to up their game and get help from freshman and transfers if the Otters are going to replicate last season’s success.

As mentioned, only one of four Otters who hit over .300 will be back this season. The good news is that returning batter is Mark Hurley. Hurley hit a team leading .347 and was named the CCAA’s Co-Newcomer of the Year in his first season with the team after transferring from the College of San Mateo. Other players back for CSUMB include Michael Lonsdale and Cannon Bernarding. Lonsdale missed a month of the season early but came back to hit a respectable .280. Previously Lonsdale won a host of honors at Chabot College where he batted .354 before coming to the bay. Bernarding struggled at the plate in his first year on campus after transferring from West Valley College, but coaches think he has the potential to be a big time performer for the team this season. Some of this season’s best production will likely come the way of a pair of DI transfers. Kevin Davidson switched to CSUMB from UC Riverside. Davidson hit .291 in 103 at bats during his two seasons for the Highlanders. Shawn Wheeler switched to the team after spending last year on the Sacramento State roster. Wheeler only got three at bats last season, but previously he was an integral member of the team at Cosumnes River College. Another transfer who should jump into the starting lineup is outfielder Jared Snow. Snow was a top hitter at Sierra College, hitting .320 as he paced the Wolverines in runs and hits.

Jeff Owen was named CSUMB’s Male Athlete of the Year after a breakout season in which he ranked nationally in wins and strikeouts. His 12-1 record tied him for fifth in the county in victories and his 98 strikeouts in 93 innings placed him 13th.  He also had a 2.61 ERA and six complete games. Chris Daniels will pair with Owen to give the team a pair of experienced starters. Last season Daniels went 6-5 with a 3.72 ERA in 84.2 innings of work. Returning reliever A.J. Quintero was solid in the bullpen, earning ten saves to rank 12th in the nation. He also had three wins and a 2.59 ERA for the Otters. Rickey Guerrero served as an exceptional setup man for Quintero. He had a 1.57 ERA and held opposition to a .183 batting average in 20 apearances.