The defending champion UCLA Baseball team has been ranked No. 15 in Collegiate Baseball's preseason top-40 poll, as announced by the weekly newspaper on Friday.
The Bruins, who won the program’s first NCAA title in 2013 after posting a 49-17 record, will play 23 games against teams that are ranked in the preseason top-40 in 2014. UCLA is accompanied in Collegiate Baseball's preseason poll by five other Pac-12 programs – Oregon State (No. 4), Oregon (No. 6), Arizona State (No. 22), Arizona (No. 24) and Stanford (No. 26).
Six starting position players return from the 2013 squad along with one weekend starting pitcher in junior left-hander Grant Watson, who was named a preseason All-American earlier this week. Junior infielder Kevin Kramer, who was also named a preseason All-American for 2014, will look to lead the infield after tying for the team lead in hits in 2013 while 2013 Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year David Berg is back to anchor the bullpen.
UCLA will begin the 2014 season with a three-game series at home against Portland from Friday, Feb. 14 to Sunday, Feb. 16 at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Game time of the season opener will be at 6 p.m. The Bruins and Pilots will continue their series on Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.
Collegiate Baseball has tabbed Cal State Fullerton as its preseason No. 1 selection and Mississippi State as its No. 2 preseason team. The Bruins defeated Mississippi State in the 2013 College World Series Finals to win the NCAA Championship.
COLLEGIATE BASEBALL PRESEASON TOP-40 POLL
|1||Cal State Fullerton||51-10||495|
|10||North Carolina State||50-16||474|
|39||UC Santa Barbara||34-23||396|