LSU picked to win SEC Baseball title

For the third consecutive year, LSU has been named the preseason favorite to win the Southeastern Conference baseball championship. The poll of the league's 12 baseball coaches was released Wednesday by the conference office in Birmingham. <br> LSU was predicted to win the championship by seven of the league's 12 coaches. The Fighting Tigers have won 12 SEC championships, but none since 1997.

Mississippi State was picked to win the championship by four coaches, with defending conference champion South Carolina receiving one vote.

The Tigers finished second in the West division to Alabama and fourth overall in the SEC in 2002 with a 19-10 conference mark. LSU was 44-22 overall and reached the NCAA super regional round for the fourth consecutive season.

Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own teams for either the division or overall championships, and points for the division polls were awarded on a 6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.

LSU was picked to win the SEC West championship by eight coaches, while the other four coaches selected Mississippi State. The Bulldogs finished second in balloting, followed by Auburn, defending division champion Alabama, Ole Miss and Arkansas.

South Carolina was the overwhelming favorite to win the SEC East, as 11 of 12 coaches chose the Gamecocks to win their fourth division championship in the last five years. Florida, which received the East's other first-place vote, was tabbed second, followed by Georgia, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Kentucky, the same order in which the six teams finished the 2002 season.

In national preseason polls, LSU is ranked sixth by Collegiate Baseball and ninth by Baseball America.

LSU opens the 2003 baseball season on February 7 with a three-game series at home against Northwestern State, and begins SEC play on March 14 at home against Florida. The 30-game conference slate runs through May 18, with the top eight teams advancing to the SEC Tournament May 21-25 at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium in Birmingham.

Here are the results of the balloting, with total points, 2002 SEC records and first place division votes in parenthesis:

East Division

Team Points 2002 SEC Record
1. South Carolina (11) 61 21-8 (1st East, 1st overall)
2. Florida (1) 49 20-10 (2nd East, 3rd overall)
3. Georgia 40 15-15 (3rd East, tied for 5th overall)
4. Tennessee 33 12-18 (4th East, 10th overall)
5. Vanderbilt 19 7-21 (5th East, 11th overall)
6. Kentucky 14 6-24 (6th East, 12th overall)

West Division

Team Points 2002 SEC Record
1. LSU (8) 52 19-10 (2nd West, 4th overall)
2. Mississippi St. (4) 43 14-15 (4th West, 7th overall)
3. Auburn 34 15-15 (3rd West, tied for 5th overall)
4. Alabama 28 20-10 (1st West, 2nd overall)
5. Ole Miss 27 14-16 (6th West, 9th overall)
6. Arkansas 11 13-14 (5th West, 8th overall)

OVERALL SEC CHAMPION: LSU (7), Mississippi St. (4), South Carolina (1)

Tiger Blitz Top Stories