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. Arkansas2. UCLA 3. LSU 4. North Carolina 5. South Carolina6. Oregon7. Stanford 8. Vanderbilt 9. Florida State 10. Arizona11. North Carolina State12. TCU 13. Florida 14. Oregon State15. Kentucky16. Oklahoma 17. Rice18. (tie) Mississippi State 18. (tie) San Diego 20. Arizona State 21. Georgia Tech22. Cal State Fullerton 23. Baylor24. Texas A&M25. (tie) Virginia 25. (tie) Louisville
Baseball America Preseason Top 25
1. North Carolina2. Vanderbilt3. Arkansas4. Louisville5. Mississippi State6. Oregon State7. South Carolina8. NC State9. Stanford10. LSU11. Kentucky12. UCLA13. Ole Miss14. TCU15. Oregon16. Georgia Tech17. Florida18. Rice19. Oklahoma20. Florida State21. New Mexico22. Cal State Fullerton23. Southern Mississippi24. Arizona25. San Diego