UCLA Ranked No. 2 in USA Today/ESPN Preseason Poll
Jan. 28, 2013
Los Angeles, Calif. - The UCLA Baseball team has been ranked No. 2 in the USA Today/ESPN Top 25 Coaches' preseason poll. The Bruins, who reached the College World Series for the second time in three seasons in 2012, received four first-place votes in the poll.
Arkansas came in at No. 1 in the preseason poll, followed by the Bruins, LSU, North Carolina and South Carolina in that order. Oregon, Stanford, Vanderbilt, Florida State and Arizona rounded out the top-10. The No. 2 preseason ranking is the highest the Bruins have earned in a preseason poll since the program was ranked preseason No. 1 by USA Today/ESPN in 2011.
UCLA is one of six Pac-12 teams in the preseason top 25, joining Oregon (No. 6), Stanford (No. 7), Arizona (No. 10), Oregon State (No. 14) and Arizona State (No. 20). The Bruins will play a total 21 games against teams in the preseason top-25. They will play a three-game series against each of the aforementioned Pac-12 teams, a three-game series against No. 23 Baylor, a two-game set against No. 22 Cal State Fullerton, and one game against No. 16 Oklahoma.
In addition to the USA Today/ESPN poll, UCLA has been ranked No. 5 in Collegiate Baseball's preseason top-40 poll, No. 6 in Perfect Game USA's preseason top-25 poll, and No. 12 in Baseball America's preseason poll.
UCLA has made the postseason in six of the last seven seasons and has hosted an NCAA Regional at Jackie Robinson the last three seasons. The Bruins also hosted an NCAA Super Regional at Jackie Robinson Stadium in 2010 and 2012 and are the two-time defending Pac-12 champions. UCLA returns 17 letterwinners off of last season's squad, including their entire starting rotation, led by preseason All-American Adam Plutko. Juniors Nick Vander Tuig and Zack Weiss also return to the rotation while sophomore Grant Watson comes back after a great freshman campaign in 2012. In the bullpen, junior Ryan Deeter and sophomore David Berg will be counted on to handle the late innings for the Bruins.
In the outfield, juniors Brian Carroll and Brenton Allen, and sophomore Eric Filia will all look to step into bigger roles in 2013 after the Bruins lost their entire starting outfield from a year ago. Juniors Pat Valaika and Kevin Williams, and sophomore Kevin Kramer will look to anchor the infield while sophomore Chris Keck will look to build upon a solid freshman season. The Bruins also brought in the No. 2 ranked recruiting class back in September and will count on numerous freshmen to make key contributions in 2013.
UCLA will kick off the 2013 season with a three-game series against Minnesota starting on Friday, Feb. 15 at 6 pm at Jackie Robinson Stadium. The series will continue on Saturday and Sunday at 2 pm and 1 pm respectively.
USA TODAY/ESPN 2013 PRESEASON POLL (FIRST-PLACE VOTES IN PARENTHESES)
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