UA tops baseball’s early poll

By: DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE STAFF FROM MEDIA REPO
Published: Friday, December 21, 2012

— Arkansas’ baseball team will start the 2013 season on top.

Arkansas, one of the final four teams remaining at last season’s College World Series, was named as the nation’s preseason No. 1-ranked team, according to the Collegiate Baseball preseason top 40 poll released Thursday.

It will be the first time the Razorbacks will open the season as the nation’s top-ranked team.

In addition, Arkansas juniors Dominic Ficociello, Ryne Stanek and Colby Suggs were named preseason All-Americans.

Arkansas, 46-22 last season, advanced to the College World Series for the seventh time. The 46 victories were the most for the Razorbacks under Coach Dave Van Horn and the most in a season since the 1990 team won 47 games. Arkansas finished the season ranked in the top six in all four major national college baseball polls, including No. 3 in the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll, the NCBWA poll and the Collegiate Baseball poll.

The Razorbacks return 10 pitchers from a staff that finished the season with a 2.83 team ERA and recorded 10 shutouts. Stanek (8-4, 2.82), a junior, and senior Randall Fant (2-3, 3.27) return as weekend starters.

Suggs, a junior righthander, went 7-1 with a 1.38 ERA in 30 appearances.

Arkansas returns six position players who made 30 or more starts, including Ficociello, an infielder who hit .290, with 6 home runs and 41 RBI as a sophomore.

The Razorbacks open the season Feb. 15, when they host Western Illinois at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville.

Collegiate Baseball

preseason poll

RK. TEAM (2012 REC.) PTS

  1. Arkansas (46-22) .................... 496 2. North Carolina (46-16) ........... 495 3. Vanderbilt (35-28) .................. 494 4. LSU (47-18) ............................ 487 5. UCLA (48-16) ......................... 484

Complete poll, Page 3

Sports, Pages 20 on 12/21/2012

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