Expectations for Kentucky continue to soar as Baseball America tabbed the Wildcats No. 11 in its annual preseason Top 25 poll on Thursday.
The ranking is UK's highest in the history of the publication's preseason poll. The Cats were also picked No. 8 by Collegiate Baseball in December and No. 13 by Perfect Game USA earlier this week.
Kentucky is coming off a historic 2012 season that saw the Cats break the school-record for wins (45), posting 20 wins against Southeastern Conference foes and ascending to their first-ever No. 1 national ranking. UK head coach Gary Henderson was named SEC Coach of the Year, centerfielder Austin Cousino SEC Freshman of the Year, and Cousino, Corey Littrell, Luke Maile and A.J. Reed each earned All-SEC accolades.
Returning to this year's team are Cousino and Reed, who were freshman All-America selections, as well as a third preseason All-America choice, Littrell, entering the 2013 season.
In addition to that trio, UK returns one of the NCAA's top overall rosters. Nine players were part of the prestigious Cape Cod League or the USA Collegiate National Team during the summer, equaling LSU and Louisville. Littrell, Trevor Gott, Jerad Grundy, A.J. Reed, Matt Reida, Walter Wijas and Zac Zellers each played in the Cape, while Cousino led Team USA in hitting.
Kentucky will open its 2013 season on Feb. 15 in Spartanburg, S.C., against UNC-Asheville at 12 p.m. ET. The game will be broadcast live on the UK IMG Radio Network with Dick Gabriel calling the action. UK's home opener will be on Feb. 26, when the Wildcats host Murray State at 4 p.m. ET at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Baseball America tabs Cats No. 11
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