Carson High graduate Darrell Rasner doesn't want to be weighed down by the high expectations that comes from being named as a freshman All-America last season and a preseason All-American this year.
After breaking onto the national scene last spring as a freshman with the University of Nevada baseball team, Rasner was named to the pre-season All-America squad by Collegiate Baseball on Thursday. The publication also named Rasner to its freshman All-America team last season.
The 6-2 right-hander was named as a third-team starting pitcher by the publication, meaning that Collegiate Baseball has effectively ranked Rasner as one of the top three pitchers going into the 2001 season.
Rasner said he won't be affected by the honors. "I'll try not to think about that," he said.
"I don't have to live up to anything. I'm just going to go and do what I did last year. Give it my all. Just whatever happens, happens."
Rasner was 14-2 last year with two shutouts and 97 strikeouts in 122 2/3 innings. He was named as a first-team All-Big West choice last year in helping the Wolf Pack advance to the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season.
Rasner was also the winning pitcher in Nevada's only win in the playoffs last season against Fresno State at Stanford. He said the team's goal is to go even further in the playoffs this year.
Now playing in its first season in the Western Athletic Conference, Nevada was one of two conference members to have players on the pre-season All-America squad. Rice had the other three members: Kenny Baugh, a second-team starting pitcher; Jon Skaggs, a third-team starting pitcher; and shortstop Eric Arnold, a third-team selection.
In the pre-season poll, Georgia Tech edged USC and Louisiana State for the top spot. WAC members Rice (No. 7) and Fresno State (No. 36) were ranked in the pre-season Top 40. Nevada will play two other teams in the rankings: No. 11 and last year's NCAA runner-up Stanford (Feb. 27 at Stanford and April 10 in Reno) and No. 37 Pepperdine (Feb. 2-3-4 at Pepperdine).
Nevada has completed fall practice and Rasner said it went well for himself and the team.
"I fell stronger than I did last year," he said. Rasner's fastball was in the 85-89 mile per hour range last season and while his speed hasn't been measured yet this year, he said he feels he's throwing harder.
"It's hard to say how hard I'm throwing," said Rasner, who also has a changeup, curve and slider. "It's not really a big important thing to me.
"You've got to spot your fastball, keep your ball down. There's more than just velocity."
While he has set no specific goals record-wise, Rasner said he would like to lower his number of walks from last season.
Practice for pitchers and catchers will resume January 4 for the Wolf Pack and the entire squad participates in drills January 8 in preparation for the January 25 season opener at Pacific.
Rasner said he doesn't know if he'll be the opening day starter. "It's hard to say right now," he said.
"I'm hoping, but if not, it's no big deal. I'll try to help the team as much as possible."
The Wolf Pack opens at home February 23 vs. Washington State at newly-expanded Peccole Park, which now seats 3,000.