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College Top 25

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Patrick Raby (Photo by Cliff Welch)
Updated on: 1/21/2019
  1. 1
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    Vanderbilt

    SEC
    Notes:

    2018 Record: 35-27
    2018 Postseason Finish: Super Regionals
    2018 Final Ranking: 17


    The Skinny: The Commodores bring back the bulk of a team that last season fell just short of Omaha, including eight of nine starters and seven of 10 pitchers who threw at least 20 innings. Right fielder JJ Bleday, a potential first round pick, and righthanders Drake Fellows and Patrick Raby, who both have Friday night experience, lead the strong returning core.

  2. 2
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    Louisiana State

    SEC
    Notes:

    2018 Record: 39-27
    2018 Postseason Finish: Regional Final
    2018 Final Ranking: NR


    The Skinny: The Tigers got a huge boost following the draft when the draft-eligible trio of righthander Zack Hess and outfielders Antoine Duplantis and Zach Watson opted to return to Baton Rouge and the top-ranked recruiting class in the country landed on campus. LSU this year will have an experienced pitching staff to go with a potent lineup.

  3. 3
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    UCLA

    Pac-12
    Notes:

    2018 Record: 38-21
    2018 Postseason Finish: Regional Final
    2018 Final Ranking: NR


    The Skinny: The Bruins have a veteran lineup led by Chase Strumpf, Michael Toglia and Jeremy Ydens that should make them formidable offensively and defensively. UCLA isn’t as experienced on the mound, but starters Ryan Garcia and Zach Pettway and closer Holden Powell give the pitching staff a strong nucleus.

  4. 4
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    Florida

    SEC
    Notes:

    2018 Record: 49-21
    2018 Postseason Finish: College World Series
    2018 Final Ranking: 3


    The Skinny: The Gators will have a different look in 2019 after losing righthanders Brady Singer – the Player of the Year, Jackson Kowar and Michael Byrne, third baseman Jonathan India and catcher J.J. Schwarz. But Florida will still be plenty talented thanks to a series of top-five recruiting classes and has a shot to be the first team to make it to Omaha five consecutive years since Stanford did so from 1999-2003.

  5. 5
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    North Carolina

    ACC
    Notes:

    2018 Record: 44-20
    2018 Postseason Finish: College World Series
    2018 Final Ranking: 4


    The Skinny: The Tar Heels last year advanced to Omaha with a team full of underclassmen. That group, led by slugger Michael Busch and righthanders Gianluca Dalatri and Austin Bergner, is back and has the potential to carry North Carolina on another deep postseason run.

  6. 6
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    Florida State

    ACC
    Notes:

    2018 Record: 43-19
    2018 Postseason Finish: Regionals
    2018 Final Ranking: 20


    The Skinny: Mike Martin enters his 40th and final season as Florida State coach with a young but very talented team. The Seminoles will need the third-ranked recruiting class to step up, but they have veterans such as third baseman Drew Mendoza and lefthander Drew Parrish to guide them.

  7. 7
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    Stanford

    Pac-12
    Notes:

    2018 Record: 45-12
    2018 Postseason Finish: Regional Final
    2018 Final Ranking: 14


    The Skinny: The Cardinal last year won the Pac-12 Conference title in coach David Esquer’s first season back on The Farm. Stanford’s potent offense led by first baseman Andrew Dashbach and outfielder Kyle Stowers and shutdown bullpen anchored by All-American closer Jack Little can carry it a long way.

  8. 8
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    Texas Tech

    Big 12
    Notes:

    2018 Record: 45-20
    2018 Postseason Finish: College World Series
    2018 Final Ranking: 5


    The Skinny: The Red Raiders have made it to Omaha three times in the last five years and while there’s been some turnover from last year’s team, they have the firepower to do it again. Texas Tech’s potent offense will be led by All-American third baseman Josh Jung and outfielder Gabe Holt.

  9. 9
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    Mississippi State

    SEC
    Notes:

    2018 Record: 39-29
    2018 Postseason Finish: College World Series
    2018 Final Ranking: 6


    The Skinny: The Bulldogs are coming off an Omaha trip in what was a roller coaster year in Starkville. With center fielder Jake Mangum back at the top of the lineup, lefthander Ethan Small at the top of the rotation, a top-12 recruiting class headlined by unsigned first rounder J.T. Ginn and the much-anticipated opening of the new Dudy Nobel Field, this has a chance to be a special year for Mississippi State.

  10. 10
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    Oregon State

    Pac-12
    Notes:

    2018 Record: 55-12-1
    2018 Postseason Finish: National Champion
    2018 Final Ranking: 1


    The Skinny: The defending national champions will this season have a much different look, starting in the dugout where Pat Bailey was elevated to interim head coach following Pat Casey’s surprising retirement. On the field, Oregon State must replace three top-40 picks and its Friday starter, but All-American catcher Adley Rutschman, the early favorite to be the No. 1 overall draft pick, and righthander Kevin Abel, the 2018 Freshman of the Year, give the Beavers a pair of stars to build around.

  11. 11
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    Louisville

    ACC
    Notes:

    2018 Record: 45-19
    2018 Postseason Finish: Regional Final
    2018 Final Ranking: NR


    The Skinny: The time is now for the Cardinals’ junior class, led by first baseman Logan Wyatt, shortstop Tyler Fitzgerald and lefthander Nick Bennett. They’ll form the nucleus of this team and Louisville will go as far as they carry them.

  12. 12
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    East Carolina

    AAC
    Notes:

    2018 Record: 44-18
    2018 Postseason Finish: Regionals
    2018 Final Ranking: 23


    The Skinny: The Pirates in 2016 brought in their first-ever Top 25 recruiting class. That class now enters its all-important junior season, with All-American outfielder Bryant Packard and first baseman Spencer Brickhouse leading the offense. If ECU can figure out its pitching staff, it will be dangerous in the postseason.

  13. 13
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    Mississippi

    SEC
    Notes:

    2018 Record: 48-17
    2018 Postseason Finish: Regional Final
    2018 Final Ranking: 15


    The Skinny: The Rebels return most of their lineup from a team that a year ago won 48 games and the Southeast Conference Tournament. Their powerful offense, strong defense and deep bullpen will be key as they must also replace their entire weekend rotation.

  14. 14
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    Clemson

    ACC
    Notes:

    2018 Record: 47-16
    2018 Postseason Finish: Regional Final
    2018 Final Ranking: 19


    The Skinny: The Tigers have been the picture of consistency under coach Monte Lee, winning more than 40 games and hosting a regional in each of his first three seasons. Clemson must replace slugger Seth Beer, but it still has a powerful lineup and has improved its depth on the mound.

  15. 15
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    Georgia

    SEC
    Notes:

    2018 Record: 39-21
    2018 Postseason Finish: Regional Final
    2018 Final Ranking: 21


    The Skinny: The Bulldogs in 2018 broke out and hosted a regional in their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2011. Georgia returns much of that team and looks especially strong on the mound, with ace Emerson Hancock and closer/third baseman Aaron Schunk back to anchor the staff.

  16. 16
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    Baylor

    Big 12
    Notes:

    2018 Record: 37-21
    2018 Postseason Finish: Regionals
    2018 Final Ranking: NR


    The Skinny: The Bears finished last season strong, winning the Big 12 Conference Tournament for the first time in program history. With catcher Shea Langeliers and lefthander Cody Bradford, who both played this summer for USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team, leading the way, Baylor looks primed to take the next step.

  17. 17
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    Auburn

    SEC
    Notes:

    2018 Record: 43-23
    2018 Postseason Finish: Super Regionals
    2018 Final Ranking: 13


    The Skinny: Replacing the first-overall draft pick is an unenviable task, but Auburn has the pieces to succeed even without Casey Mize. Shortstop Will Holland, a potential first-round pick, leads the offense and righthanders Tanner Burns and Davis Daniel give the Tigers a strong 1-2 punch on the mound.returning core.

  18. 18
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    Arkansas

    SEC
    Notes:

    2018 Record: 48-21
    2018 Postseason Finish: College World Series Finals
    2018 Final Ranking: 2


    The Skinny: The Razorbacks last year came within a strike of winning the national championship for the first time in program history and now must regroup with a new-look team. There’s still plenty of star power, including Freshmen All-Americans Heston Kjerstad and Casey Martin, closer Matt Cronin and center fielder Dominic Fletcher, but Arkansas will need some new faces to step up.

  19. 19
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    Texas

    Big 12
    Notes:

    2018 Record: 42-23
    2018 Postseason Finish: College World Series
    2018 Final Ranking: 7


    The Skinny: The Longhorns last year announced their return to prominence with a Big 12 title and a trip to Omaha. But now they must replace All-American Kody Clemens, several key pieces on the pitching staff and shortstop David Hamilton, who in January was lost for the season with an injury. Texas has plenty of talent, but it also enters the season with several question marks.returning core.

  20. 20
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    Michigan

    Big 10
    Notes:

    2018 Record: 33-20
    2018 Postseason Finish: Missed NCAA Tournament
    2018 Final Ranking: NR


    The Skinny: The Wolverines last season came on strong in the second half with a young team but just missed the NCAA Tournament. Now a year older, Michigan enters the season with high expectations and eager to break through for its first Big Ten Conference title since 2008.

  21. 21
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    Southern Mississippi

    Conference USA
    Notes:

    2018 Record: 44-18
    2018 Postseason Finish: Regionals
    2018 Final Ranking: NR


    The Skinny: The Golden Eagles again enter the season as Conference USA favorites. They have to replace some key pieces, but All-American outfielder/righthander Matt Wallner gives Southern Miss a star to build around.

  22. 22
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    Duke

    ACC
    Notes:

    2018 Record: 45-18
    2018 Postseason Finish: Super Regionals
    2018 Final Ranking: 10


    The Skinny: The Blue Devils are coming off a banner season that saw them win a program-record 45 games and advance to super regionals for the first time ever. Duke lost some sluggers from that team but should be strong on the mound with juniors Graeme Stinson and Adam Laskey leading the way.

  23. 23
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    Coastal Carolina

    Sun Belt
    Notes:

    2018 Record: 43-19
    2018 Postseason Finish: Regionals
    2018 Final Ranking: 24


    The Skinny: The Chanticleers are coming off another impressive season and again are Sun Belt Conference favorites. Coastal has a wealth of talent but must figure out how all the pieces fit together after losing some key veterans.

  24. 24
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    Minnesota

    Big Ten
    Notes:

    2018 Record: 44-15
    2018 Postseason Finish: Super Regionals
    2018 Final Ranking: 8


    The Skinny: The Gophers have won the Big Ten three of the last four years and last year broke through to super regionals. The bulk of its lineup this year will be new, but Minnesota brings back Freshmen All-American righthanders Patrick Fredrickson and Max Meyer to anchor what should be a stout pitching staff.

  25. 25
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    UC Irvine

    Big West
    Notes:

    2018 Record: 32-24
    2018 Postseason Finish: Missed NCAA Tournament
    2018 Final Ranking: NR


    The Skinny: The Anteaters haven’t made the NCAA Tournament since 2014 but that figures to change this season. Shortstop Christian Koss and righthanders Andre Pallante and Trenton Denholm form a strong core for the team as Ben Orloff takes over the program from Mike Gillespie.

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