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Thursday December 20, 2012Gators Ranked No. 24 in Collegiate Baseball Preseason Poll

Gainesville, Fla.

Following its third-consecutive trip to the NCAA College World Series last June, the University of Florida was ranked 24th in Collegiate Baseball's Fabulous 40 NCAA Division I Preseason Poll released on Thursday. It marks the fifth-straight season that head coach Kevin O’Sullivan’s club has been ranked during the preseason in the nation’s oldest college baseball poll, which began in 1958. The Gators were No. 25 in 2009, No. 9 in 2010, No. 2 in 2011 and No. 1 entering last season.

 

Arkansas headlines the publication's top five, followed by North Carolina, Vanderbilt, LSU and UCLA. The Orange and Blue will begin the 2013 campaign on Feb. 15 at McKethan Stadium, when Duke visits for the opener of a three-game series.

 

Last season, Florida was awarded the top national seed in the NCAA Tournament, its fourth-straight year within the Top-8 seeds, and became one of two programs to advance to the CWS in the last three campaigns. O’Sullivan’s club swept the NCAA Gainesville Regional with victories over Bethune-Cookman (4-0) and Georgia Tech (6-2, 15-3) and then defeated NC State twice (7-1, 9-8) in the Gainesville Super Regional to advance to the College World Series for the eighth time in school history (1988, 1991, 1996, 1998, 2005, 2010, 2011, 2012).

 

With a 47-20 (.701) record, Florida reached the 40-win plateau for the 21st time in school history, the fourth-straight year under O’Sullivan, and the team has won 100 games in the past two seasons (53-19 in 2011 and 47-20 in 2012). Last spring marked the 11th time that McKethan Stadium has hosted NCAA Regional action and the fourth-straight year for the first time in school history. The Gators have now gone on to the College World Series from Gainesville on seven occasions: 1991, 1996, 1998, 2005, 2010, 2011 and 2012. Florida is 40-10 (.800) on its own turf during NCAA play and claimed all five outings on its own turf last season. O’Sullivan is 18-3 (.857) in NCAA play at home, 12-0 (1.000) in Regionals and 6-3 (.667) in Super Regionals. He also passed Joe Arnold (1988, 1991) and Andy Lopez (1996, 1998) as the Gator head coaches with the most trips to Omaha.

 

Facing the nation’s most difficult schedule according to Warren Nolan and rated No. 2 in the NCAA’s final Ratings Percentage Index (RPI), the Gators established a school record with an 18-game winning streak from February 21-March 22 and raced out of the gates with a 23-2 record. Florida led the nation in home runs (75) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.65), was second in fewest walks allowed per 9 innings (2.07) and was fourth in WHIP (1.15) during the 2012 campaign. In addition, the pitching staff’s earned run average of 2.92 was the lowest for the Orange and Blue since 1983 and ranked eighth in the country.

 

Returning letterwinners for the Gators include junior right-hander Jonathon Crawford (Okeechobee, Fla.), senior infielder Cody Dent (Boynton Beach, Fla.), junior Daniel Gibson (Lutz, Fla.), sophomore catcher Taylor Gushue (Boca Raton, Fla.), sophomore right-hander Ryan Harris (Jupiter, Fla.), junior right-hander Keenan Kish (Worcester, Pa.), sophomore right-hander Johnny Magliozzi (East Milton, Mass.), sophomore outfielder Connor Mitchell (Tampa, Fla.), redshirt sophomore infielder Zack Powers (Seffner, Fla.), sophomore left-hander Bobby Poyner (Wellington, Fla.), senior infielder/outfielder Vickash Ramjit (Miami, Fla.), sophomore outfielder/right-hander Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.), sophomore left-hander Corey Stump (Lakeland, Fla.), redshirt senior outfielder Tyler Thompson (Tequesta, Fla.), sophomore infielder Josh Tobias (Greensboro, N.C.), sophomore infielder Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) and junior right-hander Karsten Whitson (Chipley, Fla.). O’Sullivan also welcomes his fourth-straight top-8 incoming class by Collegiate Baseball (No. 1 in 2009, No. 5 in 2010, No. 8 in 2011 and No. 7 in 2012).

 

The Gators join several other SEC programs in the poll, as all 14 teams are either ranked (Arkansas, 1st; Vanderbilt, 3rd; LSU, 4th; South Carolina, 7th; Kentucky, 8th; Mississippi State, 13th; Ole Miss 25th; Texas A&M, 26th; Georgia, 29th) or received votes (Auburn, Alabama, Tennessee, Missouri).

 

The contest with the Blue Devils begins the 36-game home schedule at McKethan Stadium, where the Gators were 31-8 (.795) last year and boast a 155-34 (.820) mark in O’Sullivan’s tenure. Twenty-seven of UF's 56 games during the regular season will be against squads listed in the Collegiate Baseball poll.

 

2013 Collegiate Baseball Newspaper's NCAA Division I Preseason Poll

Rank

School (’12 Final Record)

Points

1.

Arkansas (46-22)

496

2.

North Carolina (46-16)

495

3.

Vanderbilt (35-28)

494

4.

LSU (47-18)

487

5.

UCLA (48-16)

484

6.

Oregon (46-19)

482

7.

South Carolina (49-20)

481

8.

Kentucky (45-18)

478

9.

Stanford (41-18)

476

10.

Oregon State (40-20)

473

11.

NC State (43-20)

470

12.

San Diego (40-17)

467

13.

Mississippi State (40-24)

464

14.

Oklahoma (42-25)

462

15.

TCU (40-22)

460

16.

Arizona State (36-20)

458

17.

Georgia Tech (38-26)

456

18.

Arizona (48-17)

454

19.

Florida State (50-17)

452

20.

Rice (41-19)

450

21.

Texas (30-22)

448

22.

Louisville (41-22)

446

23.

Cal State Fullerton (36-21)

445

24.

FLORIDA (47-20)

443

25.

Ole Miss (37-26)

437

26.

Texas A&M (43-18)

434

27.

Clemson (35-28)

429

28.

Miami (Fla.) (36-23)

427

29.

Georgia (31-26)

423

30.

UC Irvine (31-25)

420

31.

Missouri State (40-22)

418

32.

Wichita State (35-25)

415

33.

New Mexico (37-24)

413

34.

Kent State (47-20)

411

35.

Virginia (39-19-1)

408

36.

Southern Miss (32-24)

405

37.

East Carolina (36-24-1)

403

38.

Coastal Carolina (42-19)

400

39.

Dallas Baptist (41-19)

397

40.

Pepperdine (36-23)

395

 

Other Teams Receiving Votes: UCF, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Long Beach State, Cal Poly, UC Santa Barbara, Tulane, St. John's, USF, Notre Dame, Seton Hall, Florida Atlantic, College of Charleston, Fresno State, Indiana State, Auburn, Alabama, Tennessee, Missouri, Southern Illinois, Nevada, San Diego State, UNLV, South Alabama, FIU, Gonzaga, Texas State, New Mexico State, Western Carolina, Appalachian State, Georgia Southern, Sam Houston State, Southeastern Louisiana, Southern California, Washington, California, Washington State, Oral Roberts, Austin Peay State, Stony Brook, USC Upstate, Kennesaw State, Mercer, Florida Gulf Coast, Saint Louis, Rhode Island, VCU, Liberty, Campbell, High Point, Indiana, Nebraska, Michigan State, Ohio State, Illinois, Minnesota, Purdue, UNC Wilmington, Hofstra, James Madison, Valparaiso, Manhattan, Canisius, Miami (Ohio), Toledo, Eastern Michigan, Bethune-Cookman, Southern, Bryant, Monmouth, Belmont.

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