Gator baseball team ranked preseason No. 1

24

January

The Florida baseball team will open the season as the nation's No. 1 team.

The Gators were picked No. 1 in Baseball America's preseason Top 25 rankings released on Tuesday for the second year in a row and the second time in school history. Florida, which finished as the national runner-up a year ago, returns the majority of its everyday lineup, its entire weekend rotation and several key players in the bullpen.

With that top ranking will come big challenges. The Gators have 28 of their 56 games during the regular season against teams also ranked in the Baseball America poll. 

 Last season, UF was 53-19, finished second at the NCAA College World Series for the second time and established a school record for victories. Florida made the trip to Omaha in consecutive seasons for the first time and reached the CWS for the seventh time in school history (1988, 1991, 1996, 1998, 2005, 2010, 2011). The Gators also won their first SEC Tournament title in 20 years.

The Gators return a solid nucleus that includes 2011 SEC Player of the Year catcher Mike Zunino, 2011 Perfect Game Freshman Pitcher of the Year Karsten Whitson and All-SEC selections SS Nolan Fontana,  P/1B Brian Johnson, P Hudson Randall, and OF Preston Tucker, a Tampa native. Also returning are the 2011 SEC Tournament MVP outfielder Daniel Pigott, 2011 College World Series All-Tournament Team selection 3B Cody Dent, C/IF/P Austin Maddox, P Steven Rodriguez, and 2011 SEC All-Freshman Team third baseman Zack Powers of Seffner.

Florida also has a Top-1- incoming freshman recruiting class.

The Gators open the season on Feb. 17 against No. 25 Cal State Fullerton - the first in a 34-ggame home schedule at McKethan Stadium, where the Gators were 34-7 last year. 

Florida begins its full team practice at 3:15 p.m. on Friday and it is open to the public.
 

The full Baseball America rankings list:

2012 Baseball America Preseason Poll

Rank

School (’11 Final Record)

Final ’11 Ranking

1.

FLORIDA (53-19)

2

2.

Stanford (35-22)

13

3.

South Carolina (55-14)

1

4.

Arkansas (40-22)

24

5.

Arizona (39-21)

NR

6.

Rice (42-21)

15

7.

Texas A&M (47-22)

7

8.

LSU (36-20)

NR

9.

North Carolina (51-16)

5

10.

Vanderbilt (54-12)

4

11.

Georgia (33-22)

NR

12.

Georgia Tech (42-21)

20

13.

Texas (49-19)

6

14.

UCLA (35-24)

22

15.

TCU (43-19)

19

16.

Clemson (43-20)

21

17.

Arizona State (43-18)

9

18.

Miami (Fla.) (38-23)

17

19.

Oklahoma (41-19)

NR

20.

Florida State (46-19)

8

21.

UCF (39-23)

NR

22.

Ole Miss (30-25)

NR

23.

Oregon State (41-19)

10

24.

Louisville (32-29)

NR

25.

Cal State Fullerton (41-17)

14

 

 

 

[Last modified: Tuesday, January 24, 2012 3:29pm]

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...