Gators ranked No. 16 in preseason baseball poll

Published: Friday, December 20, 2013 at 12:34 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, December 20, 2013 at 12:34 p.m.

Florida is ranked 16th in Collegiate Baseball's Fabulous 40 NCAA Division I Preseason Poll released Friday.

It marks the sixth-straight season 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, No. 1 in 2012 and No. 24 last season.

Cal State Fullerton headlines the publication's top five, followed by Mississippi State, LSU, Oregon State and Florida State.

The Gatorsbegin the 2014 campaign, the 100th season of Florida baseball, on Feb. 14 at McKethan Stadium, when Maryland visits for the opener of a three-game series.

Last season, Florida advanced to NCAA Regionals for the sixth year in a row, matching the longest run in school history, and has reached the College World Series in three of the past four campaigns.

UF has more than half of its games vs. opponents who advanced to the 2013 NCAA Tournament, including home series against Arkansas, Connecticut, LSU and Vanderbilt, and will have four series totaling 12 games against teams that reached Super Regionals, one of which advanced to Omaha.

The Gators return 18 letterwinners and are bolstered by the nation’s top recruiting class from Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball and Perfect Game.

Florida joins several other SEC programs in the poll, as all 14 teams are either ranked (Mississippi State, 2nd; LSU, 3rd; Vanderbilt, 9th; South Carolina, 14th; Texas A&M, 25th; Alabama, 29th; Ole Miss, 30th) or received votes (Arkansas, Auburn, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, Missouri).

The contest with the Terrapins begins the 34-game home schedule at McKethan Stadium, where the Gators boast a 175-50 (.778) mark in O’Sullivan’s tenure. Twenty-one of UF's 56 games during the regular season will be against squads listed in the Collegiate Baseball poll.

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