Jan. 24, 2012
DURHAM, N.C. - UCLA has been selected No. 14 in Baseball America's preseason top-25 poll, the national publication announced Tuesday. The Bruins went 35-24 last season, winning its first outright Pac-10 title since 1986.
Florida has been ranked No. 1 in Baseball America's preseason poll. Stanford, South Carolina, Arkansas and Arizona are tabbed second, third, fourth and fifth, respectively. Rice, Texas A&M, LSU, North Carolina and Vanderbilt round out the preseason top-10 selections, in order.
Last month, the Bruins were ranked No. 19 in Collegiate Baseball's preseason top-40 poll. UCLA has hosted an NCAA Regional at Jackie Robinson Stadium each of the last two seasons.
UCLA is among five Pac-12 Conference programs ranked in Baseball America's preseason top-25 poll. Other Pac-12 teams include No. 2 Stanford, No. 5 Arizona, No. 17 Arizona State and No. 23 Oregon State. The Bruins will play 17 games against teams ranked in the preseason top-25 poll.
In addition to three games against each of those four Pac-12 programs, UCLA will play three games at No. 11 Georgia (March 9-11) and two against No. 25 Cal State Fullerton (April 10 at UCLA, May 15 at Fullerton).
UCLA returns 19 letterwinners from 2011, including five players who started in 2011 and 2010, when the Bruins advanced to the finals of the College World Series for the first time in school history. UCLA's 86 wins over the last two seasons have marked the program's largest two-year win total. In addition, the Bruins have advanced to the postseason in five of the last six seasons.
Sophomores Adam Plutko, Zack Weiss and Nick Vander Tuig and junior Scott Griggs will be looked upon to bolster a pitching rotation that lost Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer, the No. 1 and No. 3 overall MLB Draft selections, respectively, last June.
In addition, six starting position players from last season's team return in 2011. UCLA will count upon its nucleus of experienced juniors - Beau Amaral, Trevor Brown, Jeff Gelalich, Cody Keefer and Cody Regis - to lead the Bruins at the plate.
UCLA's season begins with a three-game home series against Maryland on Friday, Feb. 17. Game time at Jackie Robinson Stadium is 6 p.m. Game times that Saturday and Sunday are 2 p.m. and 10 a.m., respectively.
The Bruins host the annual "Alumni Game" on Saturday, Jan. 28. The old-timers game will begin at 10:30 a.m. and the young-timers game at 12:10 p.m. Admission is free.
BASEBALL AMERICA'S 2012 PRESEASON POLL
|7||Texas A&M||47-22||Big 12|
|21||Central Florida||39-23||Conference USA|
|25||Cal State Fullerton||41-17||Big West|