ST. JOHN'S PICKED TO WIN 2007 BIG EAST BASEBALL TITLE :: RUTGERS' FRAZIER NAMED PRESEASON PLAYER OF THE YEAR; NOTRE DAME'S WEILAND GARNERS PRESEASON PITCHER OF THE YEAR HONORS ST. JOHN'S PICKED TO WIN 2007 BIG EAST BASEBALL TITLE

Jan. 5, 2007

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - St. John's University was chosen by the league head coaches to win the 2007 BIG EAST baseball title. Rutgers junior shortstop Todd Frazier was selected as the Preseason Player of the Year, while the Preseason Pictcher of the Year was awarded to Notre Dame sophomore Kyle Weiland. The selections were made by the league's head coaches, who were not permitted to vote for their own teams or players.

St. John's received seven of the 11 possible first place votes. The Red Storm enter the 2007 campaign following impressive 2006 season that was highlighted by a 40-19 overall record, a fourth-place finish in league play and a spot in BIG EAST Championship. The Red Storm is led by sophomore pitcher Scott Barnes, senior outfielder Chris Joachim and junior designated hitter Anthony Smith all of whom were selected to the 2007 Preseason All-BIG EAST Team. Last season, Barnes made 11 starts and posted a 3-2 record with an earned run average of 3.66. Offensively for the Red Storm, Joachim and Smith combined for nine home runs and 102 runs batted in, the two also hit over .350 for the year.

Notre Dame received four of the 11 possible first-place votes to finish second in the preseason poll. The Fighting Irish, who won the 2006 BIG EAST Championship and regular season title, earned the league's automatic berth to the NCAA Baseball Championship. ND will be led in 2007 by two Preseason All-BIG EAST Team selections - including Preseason Pitcher of the Year sophomore Kyle Weiland and junior pitcher Wade Korpi. Last season, the two ND pictchers helped provide the Irish with a team ERA of 3.52, which ranked third among all league teams. Weiland led the league with a school-record 16 saves, while posting an ERA of 2.37 in 30 appearances. Korpi led the conference with an ERA of 2.00 and had a record of 7-2.

Louisville was chosen third and received one first place vote. In their first BIG EAST season a year ago, the Cardinals finished with a 17-10 league mark en route to a third-place finish during the regular season. UofL also staged an impressive performance in the BIG EAST Championship as it advanced to the title game against Notre Dame. This season, the Cardinals will look for another strong season as they return senior infielders Logan Johnson, Chris Cates and junior infielder Jorge Castillo. All three were infielders were named to the Preseason All-BIG EAST team and comprise an infield that led the league in double plays with 75. Offensively, the three infielders all hit over .300 and combined for 15 homers and 125 RBI's.

Rutgers was selected to finish fourth in the preseason poll. The Scarlet Knights enter 2007 in the hopes of improving upon a 13-14 record in conference play. RU finished in sixth place a year ago. The Scarlet Knights will be led by junior infielder Todd Frazier, who was voted as the Preseason Player of the Year and a unanimous selection to the Preseason All-BIG EAST team. Last season, Frazier hit .366 with 11 home runs and 51 RBI's. He also ranked among the top 10 in the conference in slugging percentage (.599), on base percentage (.471), runs scored (62), home runs (11) and stolen bases (21).

Connecticut finished fifth in the preseason voting. Last season, the Huskies finished second during the regular season while posting an impressive 18-6 mark in conference play and an overall record of 39-18-1. This season UConn will be led by senior captains Dennis Donovan and Larry Day. In 2006, Donovan appeared in 54 games and finished with a batting average of .341. Day, returns to the Huskies after strong season a year ago in which he batted .322 and collected 51 RBI's to earn All-BIG EAST Third Team honors.

USF enters the year picked to finish sixth. In the Bulls first season in the BIG EAST, USF finished with a record of 23-35 a 12-15 mark in league play to earn a spot in postseason play. The season the Bulls return 18 players including sophmore Addison Maruszak, who finished 2006 with a .284 batting average and 26 RBI's. Last season, Maruszak led the team with 14 doubles and was selected as a 2006 "Louisville Slugger" Freshman All-American.

Cincinnati was selected to finish seventh. In the Bearcats first season in the BIG EAST, UC finished with an overall mark of 32-26 and a conference record of 13-14. The Bearcats are led by sophomore pitcher Steve Blevins, who was selected to the Preseason All-BIG EAST team. Last year as a freshman, Blevins posted a mark of 9-5 and pitched in 101.0 innings, which led the league.

West Virginia was chosen to finish eighth. The Mountaineers finished 2006 with an overall record of 36-22 and a conference mark of 14-13 to qualify for the BIG EAST Championship. A year ago, WVU sported the top team batting average in the BIG EAST with a mark .339. This year, WVU returns senior outfielder Justin Jenkins and sophomore outfielder Justin Jenkins both of whom were voted to the Preseason All-BIG EAST team and were key offensive contributors last year. Jenkins finished with a .376 batting average, 10 home runs and 49 RBI's to earn All-BIG EAST First Team honors, while White hit .368 with one home run and 27 RBI's.

Pittsburgh, Seton Hall, Villanova and Georgetown round out the preseason poll. The Panthers finished 2006 with a BIG EAST mark of 10-17 and tied for ninth in the conference. Pitt is led this season by senior infielder Seth Button, who hit nine home runs and plated 27 RBI's a year ago. The Pirates were selected to finish 10th in the preseason poll and will look to improve on their 12th-place BIG EAST finish a year ago. SHU returns 25 letterwinners from last year's squad. The Wildcats were choosen 11th and finished 2006 with an overall record of 27-27. The Hoyas were picked to finish 12th following their 2006 season where they finished ninth.

A total of 13 players (four pitchers, four infielders, three outfielders, one designated hitter and one catcher) earned spots on the Preseason All-BIG EAST Team.

Each member participating in the Conference baseball league competes in a round-robin rotational, one-division format; each team plays a three-game series versus nine of the 11 opponents on a rotating basis for a 27-game schedule.

The top eight teams at the end of the regular season, based on the league standings, will advance to the 2007 BIG EAST Championship, which will be a double-elimination format tournament held from May 22-26 at a location to be announced. The winner of the Championship will receive the conference's automatic bid to the 2007 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship.

2007 BIG EAST PRESEASON BASEBALL POLL

PlaceTeam (1st Place Votes)Pts.2006 Overall Record2006 BIG EAST Record/Finish
1.St. John's (7)11640-1916-10/4th
2.Notre Dame (4)11045-17-121-5-1/1st
3.Louisville (1)9531-2917-10/3rd
4.Rutgers7829-28-113-14/t-6th
5.Connecticut7539-18-118-6-1/2nd
6.USF7123-3512-15/8th
7.Cincinnati6832-2613-14/t-6th
8.West Virginia5336-2214-13/5th
9.Pittsburgh4323-2910-17/t-9th
10.Seton Hall4217-347-20/12th
11.Villanova2427-278-18/11th
12.Georgetown1724-3210-17/t-9th

2007 PRESEASON PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Todd Frazier, Rutgers, Jr., SS, 6-4, 215, Toms River, N.J./Toms River South

2007 PRESEASON PITCHER OF THE YEAR
Kyle Weiland, Notre Dame, So., RHP, 6-4, 190, Albuquerque, N.M./Eldorado

2007 PRESEASON ALL-BIG EAST TEAM

Pos.Name, School, ClassKey 2006 Statistics (All Games Played)
P Steve Blevins, Cincinnati, So. 9-5 record, 5.70 ERA, 16 starts, 3 CG, 2 ShO, 101.0 IP, 48 BB, 68 SO
P Kyle Weiland, Notre Dame, So. 2-4 record, 16 saves, 2.37 ERA, 30 appearances, 49.1 IP, 20 BB, 48 SO
PScott Barnes, St. John's, So. 3-2 record, 3.66 ERA, 11 starts, 64.0 IP, 35 BB, 74 SO
PWade Korpi, Notre Dame, Jr. 7-2 record, 2.00 ERA, 12 starts, 1 CG, 1 ShO, 76.1 IP, 27 BB, 94 SO
CLarry Day, Connecticut, Sr..332 avg., 229 AB, 34 R, 76 H, 12 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 51 RBI
IF*Todd Frazier, Rutgers, Jr. .366 avg., 227 AB, 62 R, 83 H, 14 2B, 3 3B, 11 HR, 51 RBI, 21-28 SB
IFLogan Johnson, Louisville, Sr..319 avg., 204 AB, 41 R, 65 H, 18 2B, 10 HR, 49 RBI
IFJorge Castillo, Louisville, Jr..317 avg., 224 AB, 34 R, 71 H, 16 2B, 4 HR, 44 RBI
IFChris Cates, Louisville, Sr..332 avg., 232 AB, 47 R, 77 H, 14 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 32 RBI
OFAdam White, West Virginia, So..368 avg., 201 AB, 48 R, 74 H, 6 2B, 3 3B, 1 HR, 27 RBI, 19-22 SB
OFChris Joachim, St. John's, Sr..398 avg., 216 AB, 52 R, 86 H, 12 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 46 RBI, 20-24 SB
OFJustin Jenkins, West Virginia, Sr..376 avg., 250 AB, 62 R, 94 H, 25 2B, 10 HR, 49 RBI, 8-10 SB
DHAnthony Smith, St. John's, Jr..366 avg., 186 AB, 40 R, 68 H, 6 2B, 1 3B, 8 HR, 46 RBI

* - unanimous selection