The Gamecock baseball team is ranked in the top 10 of two pre-season polls announced today.
The USA Today Coaches' Baseball Poll ranks the team 5th and the Baseball America Preseason Top 25 ranks them at number 7.
The Gamecocks begin the 2013 season on Friday, Feb. 15 hosting a three-game series vs. Liberty at Carolina Stadium.
In December, Collegiate Baseball also ranked South Carolina No. 7 and Perfect Game USA ranked the Gamecocks No. 11 earlier this week.
The Gamecocks return six position starters, 13 pitchers and 25 letterwinners from last year’s National Runners-Up squad.
Sophomore catcher Grayson Greiner, senior left-handed pitcher Tyler Webb, senior right-handed pitcher Colby Holmes and sophomore left-handed pitcher Jordan Montgomery return and are Preseason All-Americans after being named to the 2013 Louisville Slugger Preseason All-America team in December. Greiner was a second-team selection with Holmes, Montgomery and Webb named to the third team.
Greiner returns after earning Freshman All-America honors last season by Collegiate Baseball. He was a SEC All-Freshman selection and hit six homers with 32 RBI with 13 doubles as well.
Webb, who also garnered second-team Preseason All-America honors in December from the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, went 6-1 with a 1.56 ERA last year in 39 relief appearances.
Montgomery and Holmes both were starters last season. Montgomery went 6-1 with a 3.62 ERA in 74.2 innings with Holmes going 7-2 with a 3.05 ERA in 79.2 innings. Montgomery also earned Freshman All-America honors last year.
Sophomore shortstop Joey Pankake (.264-2-27) and sophomore outfielder Tanner English (.298-0-23) are back after earning SEC All-Freshman Team accolades in 2012. Position starters also returning include senior infielder LB Dantzler (.262-10-48), junior infielder Erik Payne (.265-3-19) and senior infielder Chase Vergason (.258-1-13).
Veteran southpaws Nolan Belcher (4-2, 2.12 ERA) and Adam Westmoreland (2-1, 2.86 ERA), as well as senior right-hander Patrick Sullivan (0-0, 3.52 ERA), junior right-hander Forrest Koumas (2-3, 4.82 ERA) and sophomore righties Evan Beal (4-4, 3.81 ERA) and Joel Seddon (2-0, 2.76 ERA), all started at least one game as well last year.
USA Today Poll
1. Arkansas 2. UCLA 3. LSU 4. North Carolina 5. South Carolina 6. Oregon 7. Stanford 8. Vanderbilt 9. Florida State 10. Arizona 11. North Carolina State 12. TCU 13. Florida 14. Oregon State 15. Kentucky 16. Oklahoma 17. Rice 18. (tie) Mississippi State 18. (tie) San Diego 20. Arizona State 21. Georgia Tech 22. Cal State Fullerton 23. Baylor 24. Texas A&M 25. (tie) Virginia 25. (tie) Louisville
Baseball America Preseason Top 25
1. North Carolina 2. Vanderbilt 3. Arkansas 4. Louisville 5. Mississippi State 6. Oregon State 7. South Carolina 8. NC State 9. Stanford 10. LSU 11. Kentucky 12. UCLA 13. Ole Miss 14. TCU 15. Oregon 16. Georgia Tech 17. Florida 18. Rice 19. Oklahoma 20. Florida State 21. New Mexico 22. Cal State Fullerton 23. Southern Mississippi 24. Arizona 25. San Diego