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West Coast Conference 2024 Season Preview

By Patrick Moen

Gonzaga (2023: 18-34, 14-13 WCC)

Feb. 16-18: at UCLA (28-24-1, 12-16-1 PAC 12)

The Bulldogs open their 2024 campaign with a tough draw in UCLA, though I doubt the Bulldogs will mind traveling from Spokane down to Southern California. Gonzaga finished last season with a disappointing record, with only four wins coming against out-of-conference opponents. The Bulldogs were horrendous on the road last year, but they played some big name opponents early in the season. That trend seems to remain, as they open with UCLA followed by Vanderbilt. Those two early series should get the Zags focused before WCC play opens up.


Loyola Marymount (2023: 29-24, 21-6 WCC)

Feb. 16-18: at Sacramento State (30-26, 14-16 WAC)

Coming off of a regular season WCC title with an impressive conference record of 21-6, LMU will no doubt look to finish the job and advance to regional play for the first time since 2019, under the reign of first-year manager Donegal Fergus. Opening the season with Sac State is a solid opportunity for the Lions to gain some early momentum against a team that has been sliding in recent seasons following an impressive 2021 campaign.


Pepperdine (2023: 19-30, 8-19 WCC)

Feb. 16: vs. California Baptist (28-30, 15-15 WAC)

Feb. 17: vs. Utah (22-32-1, 9-20-1 PAC 12)

Feb. 18: Utah (Riverside, CA)

Feb. 18: at California Baptist

Pepperdine will be the only WCC team taking on two separate opponents this opening weekend, as they draw a pair of teams they should take care of handily. Cal Baptist’s 2023 season skidded to a close with a "two and que" in the WAC tournament, and Utah resided in the cellar of the PAC-12, losing nearly 70% of their conference games. The Waves will need to take advantage of this soft opening slate to kickstart their 2024 season, after 2023 ended miserably in Malibu from posting an 8-19 conference record.


Portland (2023: 31-24, 17-11 WCC)

Feb. 16-18: at San Diego State (24-29, 18-11 Mountain West)

The Pilots were one game away from their first trip to the NCAA Postseason since 1991(!), the year they won the PAC-10 tournament. Yes, it’s been that long, but I’m riding the Pilots' coattails and predicting the streak to end this season. Opening up against a program in San Diego State, which has produced the likes of Tony Gwynn, Graig Nettles, and Stephen Strasburg provides a perfect opening chapter to what could be a storybook season for UP.

WATCH: Mountain West Network (Friday only)

Saint Mary’s (2023: 23-28, 14-13 WCC)

Feb. 16-18: vs. Oakland University (29-31, 18-12 Horizon League)

Saint Mary’s opens up their season at home with a tough test as they welcome in Oakland of the Horizon League. Oakland was one win away from the postseason last year, and they look to be a solid test to the Gaels, who have struggled since the turn of the decade. Saint Mary’s hopes to continue their rise through the WCC, after jumping from 9 to 14 conference wins 2022 to 2023. In what could be a competitive year throughout the WCC, if Saint Mary’s can find themselves in a spot to return to Las Vegas for the WCC tournament, anything could happen.


San Diego (2023: 24-24-1, 17-10 WCC)

Feb. 16-18: at Texas (42-22, 15-9 Big 12)

San Diego draws the toughest task of any WCC team on opening weekend, as they take a trip to Disch-Falk to take on the #10 ranked (College Baseball Central poll) Texas Longhorns. What an opportunity to make a splash on opening weekend as the Toreros, coming off a third place finish in the WCC in 2023, look to preseason all-WCC picks Angelo Peraza and Jack Gurevitch to bolster the offense in what should be a fantastic three-game series in Austin.


San Francisco (2023: 18-29, 8-19 WCC)

Feb. 16-18: vs. Fairleigh Dickinson (31-21-1, 20-10 Northeast Conference)

The Dons, one of my favorite team nicknames in the country, play host to Fairleigh Dickinson for four games on opening weekend of the 2024 season. USF is looking to bounce back after a disappointing 2023 season, in which they won only eight conference matchups and just two conference series. FDU had a decent showing in 2023, with the Knights finishing third in what was a top-heavy NEC. This one falls towards the bottom of my to-watch list this weekend, but it gives both teams a shot to get the new campaigns started on the right track.


Santa Clara (2023: 35-19, 17-10 WCC)

Feb. 16-18: at Arizona State (32-23, 16-13 PAC 12)

Santa Clara, the #1 team in the WCC Coaches preseason poll, hits the road to start the season, with a quick trip to the desert to take on PAC-12 foe Arizona State. Head Coach Willie Bloomquist and the Sun Devils are a much better team at home, in their hitter-friendly ballpark, which will provide the Broncos pitching staff with a tough challenge to open the season. As conference favorites, I have this series being a close one, as we get a chance to see how talented the top of the WCC can be, and also what the answers will be to several question marks on this Sun Devil ballclub.



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