UF baseball preseason No. 1

Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan is building a college baseball power in Gainesville.

Brad McClenny/Staff photographer
Published: Monday, December 19, 2011 at 1:55 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, December 19, 2011 at 1:55 p.m.

Coming off a national runner-up finish and loaded with a top recruiting class that has matured into juniors, Florida is the No. 1 ranked college baseball team according to Collegiate Baseball's Fabulous 40 poll.

The Gators were 53-19 a year ago and return all of their starting pitching as well as seven every-day starters this season.

“We know we have a good team,” said Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan. “Our players are smart enough to know there are a lot of good teams out there. But we're looking forward to the season to start grinding it out.”

One of those good teams is two-time defending national champ South Carolina, which is ranked second in the preseason poll. Stanford is third and North Carolina fourth.

Other SEC teams ranked include Arkansas at No. 8, LSU at 12, Georgia at 18 and Vanderbilt, which like UF and USC reached Omaha last year, at 23rd.

“To be honest, our focus is to try to win the SEC East,” O'Sullivan said. “We do like our team. But it's hard to win a national championship whether you are No. 1 in the preseason or No. 100. It is what it is. We'll embrace it.”

Florida is trying to make its third straight trip to the College World Series.

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