UK baseball ranked 15th in coaches' poll

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The Kentucky baseball team, already ranked as high as a No. 8 in the preseason, has been ranked No. 15 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ preseason top-25 poll, it was announced.

The Wildcats have already received school-record ranks in both the Collegiate Baseball poll (No. 8), which dates back to 1958, and the Baseball America top-25 (No. 11). UK has also been ranked No. 13 in the Perfect Game USA preseason top-25. The last time UK was ranked in the preseason was at No 19 in 2009 and No. 20 in 2008 by Collegiate Baseball. Preseason polls have been acquired back to 1999.

Kentucky enters the 2013 season boasting three preseason All-America honorees, including centerfielder Austin Cousino, southpaw Corey Littrell and two-way standout A.J. Reed. UK returns positional starters in shortstop Matt Reida and second baseman J.T. Riddle and outfielders Lucas Witt and Zac Zellers.

On the mound, in addition to the return of Littrell – who earned second-team All-Southeastern Conference accolades in 2012 – UK’s weekend rotation returns senior Jerad Grundy. The Johnsburg, Ill., native elected to return to UK for his senior season after being picked in the 26th round of the 2012 MLB Draft by the Minnesota Twins.

The bullpen is boosted by the return of standout right-handed reliever Trevor Gott, who shattered the UK single-season record for saves while pacing the UK bullpen to a 40-0 record when leading after seven innings in 2012. Gott was on the 2012 watch lists for the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Award, given to the nation’s top reliever.

The Wildcats have a roster that includes 15 players that have been drafted in their careers, the second-most in the NCAA, just behind Vanderbilt (18) and ahead of UCLA (13), Florida (12), South Carolina (12), Arizona State (12) and Oregon State (12). In addition, UK tied for the NCAA lead with nine players in the Cape Cod League or with the USA Collegiate National Team, right after a school-record nine players were selected in the 2012 MLB Draft, second-most in college baseball.

Kentucky will open its 2013 season on Feb. 15 in Spartanburg, S.C., against UNC Asheville at 12 p.m. ET.

ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ Poll
1. Arkansas (46-22)
2. UCLA (48-16)
3. LSU (47-18)
4. North Carolina (46-16)
5. South Carolina (49-20)
6. Oregon (46-19)
7. Stanford (41-18)
8. Vanderbilt (35-28)
9. Florida State (50-17)
10. Arizona (48-17)
11. North Carolina State (43-20)
12. TCU (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 (36-20)
21. Georgia Tech (38-26)
22. Cal State Fullerton (36-21)
23. Baylor (49-17)
24. Texas A&M (43-18)
25. Virginia (40-18-1)
25. Louisville (41-22)
* UK 2013 opponents in bold.

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