MESA, AZ - The defending national champions are still on top according to Collegiate Baseball newspaper which has ranked Mesa No. 1 in its NJCAA pre-season poll for 2015.
The T-Birds fought their way to the national title last spring, posting a school-record 52-13 record and have a number of key players returning, prompting the No. 1 ranking.
Among those back for their sophomore seasons are several of the top hitters from a year ago, three key starting pitchers and the closer.
Among the field players returning to defend the national title is leading hitter Jordan Zimmerman (So., Mesa, AZ/Red Mountain H.S.) who hit .378 with five home runs and 49 RBIs.
Alex Gudac (So., West Jordan, Utah/Juan Diego Catholic H.S.) had a .325 mark with four homers are 34 driven in. James Anderson (So., Henderson, Nev/Coronado H.S.) posted a .355 mark at the plate and Casey Moses (So., Las Vegas, Nev/Centennial H.S.) hit .297.
All-America pitcher Tyler Carvalho (So., Palmdale, Calif/Paraclete H.S.) is back for another year along with Evan Fresquez (So., Las Vegas, Nev/Coronado H.S.), Ryan Chen (So., Las Vegas, Nev/Arbor View H.S.) and closer Danny Lutz (Fr., Phoenix, AZ/Shadow Mountain H.S.).
The T-Birds kick off the 2015 season on Jan. 31 hosting the Northern Arizona University club team in a doubleheader.