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Thursday January 24, 2013Gators Ranked No. 17 In Baseball America Preseason College Top 25 Poll

Gainesville, Fla.

Following its third-consecutive trip to the NCAA College World Series last June, the University of Florida was ranked No. 17 in Baseball America’s Preseason College Top 25 released on Thursday. Head coach Kevin O’Sullivan’s club begins its season on Feb. 15 against Duke at McKethan Stadium. North Carolina headlines the top five, followed by Vanderbilt, Arkansas, Louisville and Mississippi State. The Gators had previously been ranked No. 7 by Perfect Game and No. 24 by Collegiate Baseball.

 

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.

 

The Gators join several seven other SEC programs in the poll: Vanderbilt, 2nd; Arkansas, 3rd; Mississippi State, 5th; South Carolina, 7th; LSU, 10th; Kentucky, 11th; Ole Miss 13th.

 

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.

 

2013 Baseball America Preseason College Top 25 Poll

Rank

School (’12 Final Record)

2012 Rank

1.

North Carolina (46-16)

17

2.

Vanderbilt (35-28)

NR

3.

Arkansas (46-22)

6

4.

Louisville (41-22)

NR

5.

Mississippi State (40-24)

22

6.

Oregon State (40-20)

24

7.

South Carolina (49-20)

2

8.

NC State (43-20)

12

9.

Stanford (41-18)

13

10.

LSU (47-18)

9

11.

Kentucky (45-18)

20

12.

UCLA (48-16)

5

13.

Ole Miss (37-26)

NR

14.

TCU (40-22)

16

15.

Oregon (46-19)

11

16.

Georgia Tech (38-26)

NR

17.

FLORIDA (47-20)

3

18.

Rice (41-19)

18

19.

Oklahoma (42-25)

14

20.

Florida State (50-17)

4

21.

New Mexico (37-24)

NR

22.

Cal State Fullerton (36-21)

21

23.

Southern Miss (32-24)

NR

24.

Arizona (48-17)

1

25.

San Diego (40-17)

NR


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