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College Baseball ranks Jags 17th in preseason poll

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TUCSON, Ariz. — Florida is ranked No. 1 in Collegiate Baseball’s Fabulous 40 NCAA Division I pre-season poll presented by Big League Chew bubble gum.

The defending national champions feature five Collegiate Baseball pre-season All-Americans as they return five position player starters and a number of superb pitchers from a ball club that rolled to a 52-19 record last season.

Factor in the second best recruiting class in the USA last fall as determined by Collegiate Baseball which includes six drafted players among a 16-man class, and the Gators are the favorite to win it all in 2018.

Florida leads all NCAA Div. I programs with six appearances at the College World Series over the past eight seasons, including the last three.

The Gators feature three Collegiate Baseball pre-season All-American pitchers, including potential first round draft picks next June in RHP Brady Singer (9-5, 3.21 ERA, 129 K, 32 BB) and RHP Jackson Kowar (12-1, 4.08 ERA, 84 K, 44 BB).

Another All-American is RHP closer Michael Byrne (19 SV, 1.67 ERA, 38 AP, 15 BB). Last season, Byrne set a new school record with 19 saves.

Florida is expected to have another superb defense. The Gators didn’t commit an error in its last five games of the 2017 College World Series in the most pressure-packed games of the season, an all-time CWS record. As a team, the Gators only allowed 28 stolen bases in 50 attempts over 71 games.

Offensively, Florida should be much stronger than one season ago as numerous injuries impacted the production. Key starters return healthy along with impressive newcomers who will add power and speed to the lineup.

Rank Team (2017 Final Record) Points

1. Florida (52-19) 497

2. Oregon St. (56-6) 494

3. Arkansas (45-19) 493

4. Florida St. (46-23) 489

5. Texas Tech. (45-17) 484

6. Vanderbilt (36-25-1) 482

7. North Carolina (49-14) 479

8. Kentucky (43-23) 477

9. Texas Christian (50-18) 475

10. Louisiana St. (52-20) 471

11. Dallas Baptist (42-21) 470

12. Cal. St. Fullerton (39-24) 469

13. Mississippi St. (40-27) 465

14. UCLA (30-27) 463

15. Clemson (42-21) 460

16. Virginia (43-16) 459

17. South Alabama (40-21) 456

18. Louisiana-Lafayette (35-21-1) 454

19. South Carolina (35-25) 450

20. Miami, Fla. (32-27) 448

21. Louisville (53-12) 446

22. Missouri St. (43-20) 443

23. N.C. State (36-25) 440

24. Stanford (42-16) 437

25. Southern Mississippi (50-16) 435

26. Texas (39-24) 432

27. Oklahoma St. (30-27) 429

28. Winthrop (34-24) 426

29. Georgia Tech. (27-28) 423

30. Houston (42-21) 420

31. San Diego (35-18-1) 417

32. Sam Houston St. (44-23) 414

33. Texas A&M (41-23) 412

34. Kent St. (37-18) 410

35. Auburn (37-26) 407

36. Arizona (38-21) 403

37. Stetson (27-29) 401

38. Mississippi (32-25) 398

39. Nebraska (35-22-1) 394

40. Michigan (42-17) 391

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