Gators ranked preseason No. 1 team by Baseball America
For the first time in school history, Florida has been ranked No. 1 in Baseball America's preseason Top 25 rankings.
The Gators return five freshman All-Americans and numerous other key players from a team that won the SEC regular-season title and reached the NCAA College World Series in 2010. Florida's previous highest ranking in BA's preseason Top 25 was No. 3, in both 1992 and 2006.
Head coach Kevin O’Sullivan’s team returns 22 letterwinners, including eight position starters and 11 pitchers, from a squad that went 47-17 last season and advanced to Omaha, Neb., for the CWS for the sixth time in school history. Eleven newcomers, including nine freshmen, are on the squad.
The 2011 team includes two-time, first-team All-SEC senior second baseman Josh Adams (Jacksonville), 2010 second-team All-SEC recipient Preston Tucker (Tampa) and five sophomores who were Freshman All-Americans last season: shortstop Nolan Fontana (Winter Garden), left-hander/designated hitter Brian Johnson (Cocoa Beach), infielder Austin Maddox (Jacksonville), right-hander Hudson Randall (Atlanta) and catcher Mike Zunino (Cape Coral). Maddox, junior left-hander Alex Panteliodis (Tampa) and Tucker have been named to preseason All-America teams released by Louisville Slugger and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA).
Florida begins its full team practice at 2:45 p.m. on Friday and it is open to the public.