Cal baseball is the darling of preseason polls, and is tabbed to finish third in the Pac-12 by conference coaches

With the season opening on Feb. 19, and Bay Area College Baseball Media Day set for Feb. 13, Cal baseball continues to pile up preseason recognition.

As the college sporting world was consumed with National Signing Day, the California Golden Bears baseball team was tacking yet another preseason nod onto the wall. After finishing second last season in the Pac-12, the Bears were picked third by conference coaches in their preseason poll, following up a string of preseason top-25 appearances in all major college baseball publications.

Cal got 84 points in the preseason poll, behind 89 for UCLA and 98 for Oregon State. The Beavers got nine first-place votes, while the Bruins and Bears each snagged one first-place vote apiece. 

On Feb. 1, Cal, which finished last season 36-21, and returns 17 letter-winners from a squad that took host Texas A&M to the brink in the College Station Regional, was named No. 10 in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association preseason poll, following up a No. 8 preseason nod by Baseball America. Cal was one of five Pac-12 teams named to the Baseball America top 25, second-most of any single conference.

The Bears have also been named No. 9 in's preseason poll, No. 8 by PerfectGameUSA, and No. 13 in the Collegiate Baseball newspaper's Fabulous 40 NCAA Division I Preseason Poll, presented by Big League Chew.

Cal returns Louisville Slugger Freshman All-Americans RHP Jeff Bain, LHP Matt Ladrech and catcher Brett Cumberland, as well as veteran right-handed starter Ryan Mason and junior righty Daulton Jefferies.

Jefferies added a second-team preseason All-American by Baseball America on Feb. 1, following second-team nods from and the Collegiate Baseball newspaper, and a third-team nod by PerfectGameUSA. Jefferies has also been ranked the No. 24 MLB Draft prospect by This summer, Jefferies pitched for the USA Collegiate National Team for USA Baseball, going 1-1 in four appearances (three starts), compiling a 2.57 ERA in 14.0 innings of work -- second on the staff -- and allowing a miniscule .091 batting average against, with a team-high 12 strikeouts to just four walks with one home run allowed out of the four hits he surrendered.

Last season for the Bears, Jefferies was an All-Pac-12 first team selection, with a 6-5 record and a 2.92 ERA, striking out 74 in 80.0 innings of work. His 74 Ks ranked seventh in the Pac-12, and in the opener of the College Station Regional, he threw 7.0 innings, allowing one run to Coastal Carolina. 

The Golden Bears start the 2016 season with a three-game set at Duke starting on Feb. 19.

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