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Baseball Writers Rank Wildcats No. 12

  • Written by UK Athletics
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Kentucky has been given a No. 12 ranking by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association in its preseason top-35 poll, giving the Wildcats a consensus top-15 ranking entering 2013.

Kentucky has been ranked in the top-15 in each of the main five preseason polls, including No. 8 (Collegiate Baseball), No. 11 (Baseball America), No. 12 (NCBWA), No. 13 (Perfect Game USA) and No. 15 (ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ Poll). Each of those preseason rankings marks program bests for the Wildcats, with conclusive preseason polls dating back to 1999.

The Wildcats will play a total of 24 games against teams ranked in the preseason NCBWA poll, including nine games against the top five, 17 games against the top-20 and 23 games vs. top-25 foes. Last year, Kentucky posted a 15-10 record against top-25 teams, the second-most wins against ranked foes in UK history. UK also went 10-4 – a new school best – against the top-10 and an 8-4 mark against the NCAA’s top-10 teams in the final RPI.

Kentucky enters the season boasting three preseason All-America selections, including sophomore centerfielder Austin Cousino, junior starting pitcher Corey Littrell and sophomore two-way standout A.J. Reed. Cousino has earned preseason Southeastern Conference Player of the Year honors by Baseball America, in addition to All-America honors by Baseball America, Louisville Slugger and the NCBWA. Littrell, a 6-foot-3 southpaw, is a preseason All-America selection by the NCBWA and Louisville Slugger. A 6-foot-4, 245-pound lefty/first baseman, Reed was also named to the NCBWA preseason All-America club.

A year ago, the Wildcats rewrote the record books en route to a historic season. UK won a program-best 45 games, including 20 wins against SEC foes, and soared to No. 1 in the nation for three weeks. After the year, a record nine UK players were selected in the MLB Draft, second-most in the NCAA, while UK tied for the nation lead with nine players from its 2013 roster in either the Cape Cod League or with the USA Collegiate National Team. Kentucky enters 2013 with 15 players that have been drafted in their careers on its roster, the second-most in the NCAA and just behind Vanderbilt (18).

UK will open its 2013 on Friday, Feb. 15 in Spartanburg, S.C., against UNC Asheville at 12 p.m. ET at Russell C. King Field. The game will be broadcast live on the UK IMG Radio Network, with Dick Gabriel voicing the action.

NCBWA Top-35 Preseason Poll
1. Arkansas    
2. North Carolina       
3. LSU
4. Vanderbilt
6. South Carolina
7. Stanford
8. Oregon       
9. NC State     
10. Oregon State        
11. Florida State
12. KENTUCKY           
13. TCU          
14. Arizona
15. Florida     
16. Mississippi State
17. Oklahoma
18. Rice          
19. Louisville
20. San Diego
21. Georgia Tech       
22. Arizona State        
23. Cal State Fullerton           
24. Texas A&M          
25. Ole Miss
26. Texas
27. Baylor
28. Clemson   
29. Miami
30. Virginia    
31. Kent State
32. Southern Miss      
33. UC Irvine  
34. New Mexico         
35. Coastal Carolina

Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Preseason Top-40   
1. Arkansas                             
2. North Carolina                   
3. Vanderbilt                         
4. LSU                     
5. UCLA                                               
6. Oregon                                        
7. South Carolina                   
8. KENTUCKY                          
9. Stanford                             
10. Oregon St.                                   
11. N.C. State                         
12. San Diego                      
13. Mississippi St.                
14. Oklahoma                       
15. Texas Christian                
16. Arizona St.                                 
17. Georgia Tech.                   
18. Arizona                            
19. Florida St.                       
20. Rice                                              
21. Texas                                            
22. Louisville                      
23. Cal. St. Fullerton
24. Florida                          
25. Ole Miss                                  
26. Texas A&M                                  
27. Clemson                      
28. Miami, Fla.                                 
29. Georgia                         
30. U.C. Irvine                                   
31. Missouri St.                      
32. Wichita St.                                  
33. New Mexico                               
34. Kent St.                        
35. Virginia           
36. Southern Mississippi      
37. East Carolina                 
38. Coastal Carolina              
39. Dallas Baptist                   
40. Pepperdine    

ESPN/USA Today Preseason Coaches’ Poll
1. Arkansas    
2. UCLA       
3. LSU
4. North Carolina       
5. South Carolina  
6. Oregon      
7. Stanford    
8. Vanderbilt
9. Florida State         
10. Arizona    
11. North Carolina State    
12. TCU   
13. Florida      
14. Oregon State     
15. KENTUCKY        
16. Oklahoma
17. Rice     
18. Mississippi State
18. San Diego
20. Arizona State      
21. Georgia Tech   
22. Cal State Fullerton          
23. Baylor  
24. Texas A&M         
25. Virginia
25. Louisville

Baseball America Preseason Top-25
1. North Carolina
2. Vanderbilt
3. Arkansas    
4. Louisville   
5. Mississippi State   
6. Oregon State
7. South Carolina
8. North Carolina State
9. Stanford     
10. LSU
12. UCLA        
13. Ole Miss   
14. Texas Christian
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

Photo courtesy of UK Athletics

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