Kentucky, Louisville make strong showings in baseball polls

January 24, 2013 

UK starting pitcher Corey Littrell is congratulated after holding Alabama scoreless in the third inning in the second game of a double-header at Cliff Hagan Stadium in Lexington, Ky., May 12, 2012. Photo by Matt Goins 13971

MATT GOINS — ©2012 Herald-Leader Buy Photo

  • Baseball America Top 25

    Rank, Team 2012 record

    1. North Carolina 46-16

    2. Vanderbilt 35-28

    3. Arkansas 46-22

    4. Louisville 41-22

    5. Mississippi State 40-24

    6. Oregon State 40-20

    7. South Carolina 49-20

    8. North Carolina State 43-20

    9. Stanford 41-18

    10. Louisiana State 47-18

    11. Kentucky 45-18

    12. UCLA 48-16

    13. Mississippi 37-26

    14. Texas Christian 40-22

    15. Oregon 49-16

    16. Georgia Tech 38-28

    17. Florida 47-20

    18. Rice 41-19

    19. Oklahoma 42-25

    20. Florida State 50-17

    21. New Mexico 37-24

    22. Cal State Fullerton 36-21

    23. Southern Mississippi 32-24

    24. Arizona 48-17

    25. San Diego 40-17

    USA Today Coaches' Top 25

    Rank, Team 2012 record

    1. Arkansas 46-22

    2. UCLA 48-16

    3. Louisiana State 47-18

    4. North Carolina 46-16

    5. South Carolina 49-20

    6. Oregon 49-16

    7. Stanford 41-18

    8. Vanderbilt 35-28

    9. Florida State 50-17

    10. Arizona 48-17

    11. North Carolina State 43-20

    12. Texas Christian 40-22

    13. Florida 47-20

    14. Oregon State 40-20

    15. Kentucky 45-18

    16. Oklahoma 42-25

    17. Rice 41-19

    18. Mississippi State 40-24

    18. San Diego 40-17

    20. Arizona State 37-20

    21. Georgia Tech 38-28

    22. Cal State Fullerton 36-21

    23. Baylor 49-17

    24. Texas A&M 43-18

    25. Louisville 41-22

    25. Virginia 40-18-1

Two things are evident after the release Thursday of two more pre-season college baseball polls:

■ Kentucky and Louisville are highly respected programs;

■ The Southeastern Conference is going to be extremely strong.

Louisville was ranked No. 4 and Kentucky No. 11 in the Baseball America pre-season college rankings announced Thursday.

Also Thursday, the USA Today coaches' poll placed Kentucky No. 15 and Louisville 25th.

The ratings represent the third and fourth times the Cats and Cards have been ranked this pre-season.

Collegiate Baseball has Kentucky No. 8 and Louisville No. 22. Perfect Game USA puts the Cats No. 13 and the Cards No. 15.

Kentucky is coming off the best season in the history of the program, winning a school-record 45 games in 2012.

Seven other Southeastern Conference teams join Kentucky in the Baseball America and USA Today rankings:

Louisville, which won its third Big East regular-season title in the last four seasons in 2012, is led in 2013 by the return of seven all-conference players.

The Cardinals are the only Big East team in the Baseball America Top 25.

Baseball America has North Carolina No. 1. USA Today puts Arkansas on top. Defending national champion Arizona is rated No. 24 by Baseball America and No. 10 by USA Today.

UK returns one of the most talent-laden rosters in college baseball in 2013, including pre-season All-Americans in center fielder Austin Cousino, left-handed starting pitcher Corey Littrell and two-way standout A.J. Reed. UK returns seven of its nine starters in the field, including middle-infield duo J.T. Riddle and Matt Reida and starting outfielders Cousino, Lucas Witt and Zac Zellers.

On the mound, Littrell and senior left-hander Jerad Grundy give UK two of its three-man weekend rotation from a year ago. UK's bullpen returns record-setting closer Trevor Gott.

Kentucky opens its 2013 season Feb. 15 in Spartanburg, S.C., taking on UNC Asheville at Wofford.

Louisville opens the same day, taking on Indiana in the Big East/Big Ten Challenge at Dunedin, Fla.


BASEBALL AMERICA TOP 25

Rank, Team 2012 record

1. North Carolina 46-16

2. Vanderbilt 35-28

3. Arkansas 46-22

4. Louisville 41-22

5. Mississippi State 40-24

6. Oregon State 40-20

7. South Carolina 49-20

8. North Carolina State 43-20

9. Stanford 41-18

10. Louisiana State 47-18

11. Kentucky 45-18

12. UCLA 48-16

13. Mississippi 37-26

14. Texas Christian 40-22

15. Oregon 49-16

16. Georgia Tech 38-28

17. Florida 47-20

18. Rice 41-19

19. Oklahoma 42-25

20. Florida State 50-17

21. New Mexico 37-24

22. Cal State Fullerton 36-21

23. Southern Mississippi 32-24

24. Arizona 48-17

25. San Diego 40-17


USA TODAY COACHES' TOP 25

Rank, Team 2012 record

1. Arkansas 46-22

2. UCLA 48-16

3. Louisiana State 47-18

4. North Carolina 46-16

5. South Carolina 49-20

6. Oregon 49-16

7. Stanford 41-18

8. Vanderbilt 35-28

9. Florida State 50-17

10. Arizona 48-17

11. North Carolina State 43-20

12. Texas Christian 40-22

13. Florida 47-20

14. Oregon State 40-20

15. Kentucky 45-18

16. Oklahoma 42-25

17. Rice 41-19

18. Mississippi State 40-24

18. San Diego 40-17

20. Arizona State 37-20

21. Georgia Tech 38-28

22. Cal State Fullerton 36-21

23. Baylor 49-17

24. Texas A&M 43-18

25. Louisville 41-22

25. Virginia 40-18-1

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