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Gamecocks Earn Top 10 Rankings In Preseason Baseball Polls - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Gamecocks Earn Top 10 Rankings In Preseason Baseball Polls

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COLUMBIA, SC -

South Carolina is ranked No. 7 in the nation in the Baseball America Preseason Top 25 as announced on Thursday morning and No. 5 in the USA Today baseball coaches poll.  The Gamecocks begin the 2013 season on Friday, Feb. 15 hosting a three-game series vs. Liberty at Carolina Stadium.   This is the third preseason ranking to be released as Collegiate Baseball also ranked South Carolina No. 7 in their poll released in December with Perfect Game USA ranking the Gamecocks No. 11 earlier this week. 

The Gamecocks return six position starters, 13 pitchers and 25 letterwinners from last year's National Runners-Up squad.  

Sophomore catcher Grayson Greiner, senior left-handed pitcher Tyler Webb, senior right-handed pitcher Colby Holmes and sophomore left-handed pitcher Jordan Montgomery return and are Preseason All-Americans after being named to the 2013 Louisville Slugger Preseason All-America team in December. Greiner was a second-team selection with Holmes, Montgomery and Webb named to the third team. 

Greiner returns after earning Freshman All-America honors last season by Collegiate Baseball. He was a SEC All-Freshman selection and hit six homers with 32 RBI with 13 doubles as well.

Webb, who also garnered second-team Preseason All-America honors in December from the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, went 6-1 with a 1.56 ERA last year in 39 relief appearances. 

Montgomery and Holmes both were starters last season. Montgomery went 6-1 with a 3.62 ERA in 74.2 innings with Holmes going 7-2 with a 3.05 ERA in 79.2 innings. Montgomery also earned Freshman All-America honors last year. 

Sophomore shortstop Joey Pankake (.264-2-27) and sophomore outfielder Tanner English (.298-0-23) are back after earning SEC All-Freshman Team accolades in 2012. Position starters also returning include senior infielder LB Dantzler (.262-10-48), junior infielder Erik Payne (.265-3-19) and senior infielder Chase Vergason (.258-1-13). 

Veteran southpaws Nolan Belcher (4-2, 2.12 ERA) and Adam Westmoreland (2-1, 2.86 ERA), as well as senior right-hander Patrick Sullivan (0-0, 3.52 ERA), junior right-hander Forrest Koumas (2-3, 4.82 ERA) and sophomore righties Evan Beal (4-4, 3.81 ERA) and Joel Seddon (2-0, 2.76 ERA), all started at least one game as well last year.

 

Baseball America Preseason Top 25

1.    North Carolina

2.    Vanderbilt

3.    Arkansas

4.    Louisville

5.    Mississippi State

6.    Oregon State

7.    South Carolina

8.    NC State

9.    Stanford

10.   LSU

11.   Kentucky

12.   UCLA

13.   Ole Miss

14.   TCU

15.   Oregon

16.   Georgia Tech

17.   Florida

18.   Rice

19.   Oklahoma

20.   Florida State

21.   New Mexico

22.   Cal State Fullerton

23.   Southern Mississippi

24.   Arizona

25.   San Diego

 

The USA TODAY Sports preseason Top 25 baseball coaches' poll, with final 2012 records, total points based on 25 points for first place through one point for 25th, ranking in the final poll of 2012 season and first-place votes received:

 

      Final 2012  First-place

      Rank  School (final 2012 record)    Points      rank  votes

      1.    Arkansas (46-22)              715   3     10

      2.    UCLA (48-16)                  644   5     4

      3.    LSU (47-18)             619   11    3

      4.    North Carolina (46-16)        613   17    4

      5.    South Carolina (49-20)        591   2     0

      6.    Oregon (46-19)                567   10    0

      7.    Stanford (41-18)              565   12    1

      8.    Vanderbilt (35-28)            523   25    3

      9.    Florida State (50-17)         451   4     2

      10.   Arizona (48-17)               422   1     3

      11.   North Carolina State (43-20)  408   13    0

      12.   TCU (40-22)             359   15    0

      13.   Florida (47-20)               350   6     1

      14.   Oregon State (40-20)          329   22    0

      15.   Kentucky (45-18)              307   19    0

      16.   Oklahoma (42-25)        302   14    0

      17.   Rice (41-19)                  248   20    0

      18. (tie)   Mississippi State (40-24)           215   NR    0

      18. (tie)   San Diego (40-17)       215   NR    0

      20.   Arizona State (36-20)         204   NR    0

      21.   Georgia Tech (38-26)          187   NR    0

      22.   Cal State Fullerton (36-21)   165   NR    0

      23.   Baylor (49-17)                130   9     0

      24.   Texas A&M (43-18)       124   18    0

      25. (tie)   Virginia (40-18-1)            111   23    0

      25. (tie)   Louisville (41-22)            111   NR    0

 

Others receiving votes: Mississippi (37-26) 92; Texas (30-22) 84; Kent State (47-20) 68; Clemson (35-28) 63; Miami (Fla.) (36-23) 61; St. John's (40-23) 58; Stony Brook (52-15) 28; Central Florida (45-17) 27; Purdue (45-14) 26; Tulane (38-20) 19; UC-Irvine (31-25) 13; Pepperdine (36-23) 9; Missouri State (40-22) 8; California (29-25) 6; Oklahoma State (32-25) 6; Georgia (31-26) 5; New Mexico (37-24) 5; Southern Mississippi (32-24) 5; North Carolina-Wilmington (39-23) 3; Sam Houston State (40-22) 3; Cal Poly (36-20) 2; Coastal Carolina (42-19) 2; Dallas Baptist (41-19) 2; Fresno State (31-28) 2; Notre Dame (31-27) 1; Virginia Tech (34-21) 1; Wichita State (35-25) 1.

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