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2018 Baseball Preseason Rankings

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We don’t really know what to expect from the Gamecocks this season

Scrimmage

Opening Day for the South Carolina baseball team is Friday and they are coming into the 2018 season with a lot of unknowns, from new faces on the team to a new coaching staff. It’s no surprise that after a rough 2017 season that ended with Chad Holbrook’s departure, the Gamecocks are not very highly regarded in the preseason polls or getting much preseason recognition. The lone South Carolina Gamecock to receive any preseason recognition is Carlos Cortes. The sophomore was named Preseason All-SEC second team by the SEC coaches and Preseason All-American third team by Baseball America.

With question marks on the team and a difficult schedule, new Carolina head coach Mark Kingston has his work cut out for him this season. Kingston came to South Carolina from the University of South Florida, where he was the head coach for the past three years. He will be taking a big step up as he adjusts to coaching in the SEC and tries to return the Gamecocks to the NCAA Tournament.

Here are the preseason rankings from the five major college baseball polls:

Preseason Rankings

Rank USA Today Coaches Poll D1 Baseball Baseball America Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball
Rank USA Today Coaches Poll D1 Baseball Baseball America Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball
1 Florida Florida Florida Florida Florida
2 Oregon State Oregon State Oregon State Oregon State Oregon State
3 Texas Tech Texas Tech Florida State TCU Arkansas
4 TCU Arkansas Arkansas Texas Tech Florida State
5 Florida State Florida State Texas Tech Florida State Texas Tech
6 Arkansas North Carolina North Carolina Arkansas Vanderbilt
7 North Carolina TCU TCU North Carolina North Carolina
8 Kentucky Kentucky Kentucky Kentucky Kentucky
9 LSU Ole Miss Stanford Miami TCU
10 Vanderbilt Texas A&M Texas A&M Stanford LSU
11 Texas A&M UCLA Cal State Fullerton Ole Miss Dallas Baptist
12 Cal State Fullerton Mississippi State Clemson LSU Cal State Fullerton
13 Louisville Stanford UCLA NC State Mississippi State
14 UCLA Vanderbilt Texas Louisville UCLA
15 Mississippi State Louisville Virginia Texas A&M Clemson
16 Stanford LSU Ole Miss UCLA Virginia
17 Dallas Baptist Cal State Fullerton LSU Indiana South Alabama
18 Virginia Dallas Baptist Vanderbilt Oklahoma Louisiana-Lafayette
19 Ole Miss Virginia Louisville Cal State Fullerton South Carolina
20 Texas South Alabama Indiana Duke Miami
21 Clemson Texas Southern Miss Houston Louisville
22 Houston West Virginia UCF Sam Houston State Missouri State
23 South Alabama Indiana Mississippi State Texas NC State
24 Miami Houston South Alabama Clemson Stanford
25 NC State Duke St. John's Mississippi State Southern Mississippi

The Gamecocks are ranked in one poll and they were just outside the top 25 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. But between last year’s results and the unproven elements of this year’s team, there isn’t confidence across the board that Carolina can be a real contender this season. Unfortunately for the Gamecocks, their schedule is not designed for a rebuilding year with a new coach at the helm. An SEC baseball schedule is never easy, but South Carolina not only has three very good teams in their division (including the defending national champions), but also faces four teams from the SEC West that are expected to be quite good this season.

The good news for the Gamecocks is that if the team comes together well they’ll have plenty of chances to prove themselves against high-level competition and get good wins. While it’s not easy to go into a season with questions about what the team will look like under a new head coach, it’s exciting for the program to have a fresh start and a chance to begin the process of returning to the level that it’s expected to be at.

GABA will continue to preview the 2018 baseball season throughout the week as we count down to Opening Day on Friday!