SEC Coaches Pick AU Fifth in Baseball

Southeastern Conference baseball starts this weekend and the league's coaches have announced their preseason poll results.

Birmingham, Ala.--Auburn is picked fifth in its division in a preseason poll of Southeastern Conference baseball coaches.

The Tigers received 24 points in the voting by the league's 12 coaches. Arkansas received 11 of the 12 votes to finish first in the division. The Razorbacks were 18-12 in conference play last year to finish second in the SEC West behind Ole Miss (17-13).

The other first place vote went to Arkansas, which is predicted to finish second. Alabama is ranked third ahead of LSU, Auburn and Mississippi State.

In the SEC East, South Carolina is the favorite with nine first place votes and Vanderbilt received the other three and is predicted to finish second in the conference. Tennessee is listed third followed by Kentucky, Georgia and Florida.

South Carolina is ranked as high as third nationally in preseason polls. The Gamecocks finished fourth in the division last year with a 15-15 record.

The Gamecocks received seven votes to be the overall league champion while Arkansas got three and Vandy received two.

The first SEC teams to open play start this weekend with Arkansas visiting Louisiana Tech and Tennessee traveling to FSU.

Auburn, which finished last in the division in 2006 with a 9-21 league mark, opens the season with a three-game home series Feb. 9-11th at Plainsman Park vs. Hofstra. Coach Tom Slater's Tigers begin SEC play March 16th at Georgia.

Slater, who is beginning his third year as head coach, is counting on more depth, particularly pitching-wise, to field what he says is his most talented team at Auburn.

"We have everything here to be one of the best teams in the SEC from a facilities standpoint and everything else," he says. "We've recruited well. We have signed three classes, two which are here, and we've recruited well. Now the next step is getting us back to where we should be--where Auburn should be is among the top teams in this league."

Coaches Poll, SEC West

Arkansas 66

Ole Miss 53

Alabama 47

LSU 33

Auburn 24

Mississippi State 23

Coaches Poll, SEC East

South Carolina 63

Vanderbilt 54

Tennessee 39

Kentucky 31

Georgia 30

Florida 29

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