Matt Jones is the online sports director for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A two-time graduate of the University of Arkansas, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and voter for the Biletnikoff Award.
Coaches rank Arkansas No. 1
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/MICHAEL WOODS --03/09/2012-- University of Arkansas pitcher Ryne Stanek fires a pitch in the third inning of a game at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE Arkansas' baseball team is ranked No. 1 in the preseason USA Today/Coaches' poll, released Thursday.
The No. 1 ranking is the second for the Razorbacks this preseason after also taking the top spot in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper poll. Arkansas was ranked No. 3 by Baseball America in its preseason poll, behind North Carolina and Vanderbilt.
Razorbacks in the Rankings
No. 1 - USA Today/Coaches, Collegiate Baseball Newspaper
No. 2 - Perfect Game USA
No. 3 - Baseball America
In the coaches' poll, the Razorbacks lead eight Southeastern Conference teams ranked. Three other teams - LSU (3), South Carolina (5) and Vanderbilt (8) - are ranked in the top 10, while Florida (13), Kentucky (15), Mississippi State (18) and Texas A&M (24) also made the list.
Arkansas finished the 2012 season with a 46-22 overall record and a trip to the College World Series. The Razorbacks return 10 pitchers and seven position players who logged significant playing time last year.
Preseason practice for Arkansas begins Friday at 2 p.m. at Baum Stadium. The Razorbacks open the season with the first of a three-game series against Western Illinois on Feb. 15.