National Collegiate Baseball Writers November 11, 2003
For Immediate Release
Contact: Jeff Hurd or Bo Carter
.pdf version
Twenty conferences represented among selections

DENVER (NCBWA) The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) has chosen its fifth annual 2004 Preseason All-America team, with three starting pitchers from defending NCAA champion Rice headlining a group of standouts representing 20 different Division I conferences.

Rice mainstays Jeff Niemann (17-0, 1.70 ERA last season), Wade Townsend (11-2, 2.20) and Phillip Humber (11-3, 3.30) have become the first trio of starting hurlers from the same squad to earn preseason first-team recognition from the writers' group.

The Owls' trio is not alone in their multiple talents (Townsend had five saves out of the bullpen before taking on fulltime starters' duties for Coach Wayne Graham's 58-12 squad) on the first unit. Long Beach State right-hander Jared Weaver (13-3, 1.99 ERA, younger brother of the New York Yankees' Jeff Weaver) joins the other first-team starters, along with Jason Windsor (11-2, 1.98) of Cal State Fullerton as one of the most formidable group of selections in the brief history of preseason NCBWA All-America squads. Relief aces Steven Register (NCAA-high 16 saves in 2003) of Auburn and Huston Street (15 saves, Division I's lowest ERA at 1.33) of Texas team with North Carolina State's Joey Devine (13 saves) as the top closers.

Street is a repeat performer from the 2003 preseason and postseason NCBWA All-America components, while Register returns from the '03 postseason All-America team. Returning first team 1B Billy Becher of New Mexico State leads an outstanding group of hitters on the first team with 32 home runs last season. Becher's .420 batting average also tops the first-team squad just ahead of returning All-American SS Dustin Pedroia of Arizona State with a .404 norm for the Pacific-10 Conference power.

The No. 1 position players and utility men/designated hitters combined for 103 home runs and 531 RBI last season while Big East Conference Player of the Year candidate Steve Sollman of Notre Dame returns with a .370 average. 3B Michael Griffin, a Baylor junior who also can play the outfield in a pinch, nabbed first team All-Big 12 Conference laurels with Street in '03.

Southland Conference All-America OF Jordan Foster of Lamar chimed in with a .417 average and 71 RBI, while Southern Cal catcher Jeff Clement (21 home runs as a freshman) and Stanford OF Sam Fuld (three-time participant in the NCAA World Series under Coach Mark Marquess) join LSU's 2003 CWS entrant Ryan Patterson and Ole Miss pitcher-utility star Stephen Head, solid members of the select squad from the Southeastern Conference.

Rice outfielder Austin Davis, of the school's first NCAA team champion in any sport, gives the Owls a team-high four preseason All-American selections on the three units. Arizona State 1B Jeff Larish joins teammate Pedroia and Conference USA stalwarts OF Darryl Lawhorn of East Carolina and relief standout Austin Tubb of Southern Miss among some of the other key honorees. Princeton bullpen star Thomas Pauly (5-1, five saves, 0.92 ERA in 15 appearances) of the Ivy League and North Carolina State starters Mike Rogers and Vern Sterry (combined 22 victories) of the Atlantic Coast Conference are just a few of the chosen ones on the pre-2004 NCBWA second unit.

The SEC had the most preseason All-American selections with nine, while the Pac-10 had seven and the ACC and Big 12 each produced six.

First Team Position Players
1B Billy Becher, New Mexico State
2B Steve Sollmann, Notre Dame
3B Michael Griffin, Baylor
SS Dustin Pedroia, Arizona State
C Jeff Clement, Southern California
OF Jordan Foster, Lamar
OF Ryan Patterson, LSU
OF Sam Fuld, Stanford
UT/ATH Stephen Head, Ole Miss

First Team Pitchers
SP Jason Windsor, Cal State Fullerton
SP Philip Humber, Rice
SP Jeff Niemann, Rice
SP Wade Townsend, Rice
SP Jared Weaver, Long Beach State
RP Steven Register, Auburn
RP Joey Devine, N.C. State
RP Huston Street, Texas

Second Team Position Players
1B Jeff Larish, Arizona State
2B Kevin Melillo, South Carolina
3B Adam Fox, Ohio
SS Ryan Braun, Miami (Fla.)
C Landon Powell, South Carolina
OF Darryl Lawhorn, East Carolina
OF Austin Davis, Rice
OF Drew Moffitt, Wichita State
UT/ATH Joe Koshansky, Virginia

Second Team Pitchers
SP Brent Carter, Alabama
SP Glen Perkins, Minnesota
SP Chris Niesel, Notre Dame
SP Mike Rogers, N.C. State
SP Vern Sterry, N.C. State
SP J.P. Howell, Texas
SP Justin Orenduff, VCU
RP Thomas Pauly, Princeton
RP Austin Tubb, Southern Miss

Third Team Position Players
1B C.J. Smith, Florida
1B Clay Harris, LSU
1B Jim Fasano, Richmond
2B Drew Anderson, Ohio State
3B Neil Sellers, Eastern Kentucky
3B Brett Carroll, Middle Tennessee
SS Stephen Drew, Florida State
SS Mike Rozema, St. John's
C Brad Willcutt, Southern Miss
OF Jeff Van Houten, Arizona
OF Ben Harrison, Florida
OF Jeff Fiorentino, Florida Atlantic
OF Mark Jurich, Louisville
OF Sam Steidl, Minnesota
OF Danny Putnam, Stanford
DH/ATH Curtis Ledbetter, Nebraska
UT/ATH Ryan Gordon, UNC Greensboro
UT/ATH Micah Owings, Georgia Tech

Third Team Pitchers
SP Steven Carter, Coastal Carolina
SP Randy Beam, Florida Atlantic
SP J.D.Cockroft, Miami (Fla.)
SP Quinton Robertson, Nebraska
SP Scott Lewis, Ohio State
SP Mark Romanczuk, Stanford
SP Clayton Jerome, TCU
SP Mike Pelfrey, Wichita State
RP Zane Carlson, Baylor
RP Chase Swing, Middle Tennessee
RP Chris Noonan, Seton Hall

Related links:
Complete release with individual statistics (.pdf)
2003 NCBWA All-America Team