Baseball Writers rank Wildcats No. 12 in preseason

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association has ranked Kentucky No. 12 in its preseason top-35 poll, giving the Wildcats a consensus top-15 ranking entering 2013, it was announced.

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
5. UCLA
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
11. KENTUCKY
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


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