DURHAM, N.C—North Carolina is No. 1 in Baseball America’s preseason Top 25 rankings for the first time in program history. The Tar Heels, who have made five trips to the College World Series in the last seven years, return three weekend starters who posted sub-2.00 ERAs last year, headlining one of the nation’s deepest pitching staffs.
Southeastern Conference teams occupy three of the next four spots, and five of the top 10. Eight SEC teams appear in the Top 25, leading all conferences. No. 2 Vanderbilt and No. 3 Arkansas each earn their highest preseason rankings ever, as do No. 4 Louisville, No. 6 Oregon State and No. 8 North Carolina State. Fifth-ranked Mississippi State enters the season with its highest ranking since it topped the 1989 preseason Top 25.
New Mexico, which checks in at No. 21, earns a preseason ranking for the first time in program history. The Lobos last appeared in the BA Top 25 on March 30, 2009.
Defending national champion Arizona enters the season ranked 24th after losing a slew of key players, while runner-up South Carolina is ranked seventh.
The Pacific-12 Conference landed the second-most teams in the rankings with five, followed by the Atlantic Coast Conference (four). The only other conferences to produce multiple ranked teams were the Big 12 and Conference USA, which each placed two teams in the rankings.
The staff of Baseball America determines the Top 25 rankings. Last year’s records do not include ties.
|8.||North Carolina State||43-20||12|
|22.||Cal State Fullerton||36-21||21|