UF baseball ranked preseason No. 17

Florida's Casey Turgeon slides safely into home to score a run during a game against Georgia Tech in the 2012 NCAA Gainesville Regionals in Gainesville, June 2, 2012.

Brad McClenny/Staff photographer
Published: Thursday, January 24, 2013 at 12:13 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 24, 2013 at 12:13 p.m.

Pick a college baseball preseason poll, whichever one you choose, will have the Florida Gators among the best teams in the country even after losing a core group of players who have made the College World Series part of the yearly schedule.

Florida was ranked No. 17 in Baseball America’s Preseason College Top 25 released Thursday. The Gators had previously been ranked No. 7 by Perfect Game and No. 24 by Collegiate Baseball.

North Carolina headlines the top five in Baseball America's poll, followed by Vanderbilt, Arkansas, Louisville and Mississippi State. The Gators, coming off a third-consecutive trip to the College World Series last June, join seven other SEC programs in the poll: Vanderbilt, 2nd; Arkansas, 3rd; Mississippi State, 5th; South Carolina, 7th; LSU, 10th; Kentucky, 11th; Ole Miss 13th. Florida State is No. 20, while Miami is unranked.

The Gators, 47-20 a year ago, begin the season Feb. 15 against Duke at McKethan Stadium, where the Gators were 31-8 (.795) last year and boast a 155-34 (.820) mark in coach Kevin O’Sullivan’s tenure. The contest with the Blue Devils begins the 36-game home schedule.

UF begins practice Friday.

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