USC Preseason No. 5 In Coaches Poll

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Columbia, S.C. (USC SID) -- South Carolina is No. 5 in the USA Today baseball coaches poll as announced on Thursday. The Gamecocks begin the 2013 season on Friday, Feb. 15 hosting a three-game series vs. Liberty at Carolina Stadium. Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball also ranked South Carolina No. 7 with Perfect Game USA ranking the Gamecocks No. 11 earlier this week.

The Gamecocks return six position starters, 13 pitchers and 25 letterwinners from last year’s National Runners-Up squad.

Sophomore catcher Grayson Greiner, senior left-handed pitcher Tyler Webb, senior right-handed pitcher Colby Holmes and sophomore left-handed pitcher Jordan Montgomery return and are Preseason All-Americans after being named to the 2013 Louisville Slugger Preseason All-America team in December. Greiner was a second-team selection with Holmes, Montgomery and Webb named to the third team.

Greiner returns after earning Freshman All-America honors last season by Collegiate Baseball. He was a SEC All-Freshman selection and hit six homers with 32 RBI with 13 doubles as well.

Webb, who also garnered second-team Preseason All-America honors in December from the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, went 6-1 with a 1.56 ERA last year in 39 relief appearances.

Montgomery and Holmes both were starters last season. Montgomery went 6-1 with a 3.62 ERA in 74.2 innings with Holmes going 7-2 with a 3.05 ERA in 79.2 innings. Montgomery also earned Freshman All-America honors last year.

Sophomore shortstop Joey Pankake (.264-2-27) and sophomore outfielder Tanner English (.298-0-23) are back after earning SEC All-Freshman Team accolades in 2012. Position starters also returning include senior infielder LB Dantzler (.262-10-48), junior infielder Erik Payne (.265-3-19) and senior infielder Chase Vergason (.258-1-13).



Veteran southpaws Nolan Belcher (4-2, 2.12 ERA) and Adam Westmoreland (2-1, 2.86 ERA), as well as senior right-hander Patrick Sullivan (0-0, 3.52 ERA), junior right-hander Forrest Koumas (2-3, 4.82 ERA) and sophomore righties Evan Beal (4-4, 3.81 ERA) and Joel Seddon (2-0, 2.76 ERA), all started at least one game as well last year.



USA TODAY SPORTS TOP 25 COACHES’ POLL — Jan. 24, 2013

The USA TODAY Sports preseason Top 25 baseball coaches’ poll, with final 2012 records, total points based on 25 points for first place through one point for 25th, ranking in the final poll of 2012 season and first-place votes received:

Final 2012 First-place
Rank School (final 2012 record) Points rank votes
1. Arkansas (46-22) 715 3 10
2. UCLA (48-16) 644 5 4
3. LSU (47-18) 619 11 3
4. North Carolina (46-16) 613 17 4
5. South Carolina (49-20) 591 2 0
6. Oregon (46-19) 567 10 0
7. Stanford (41-18) 565 12 1
8. Vanderbilt (35-28) 523 25 3
9. Florida State (50-17) 451 4 2
10. Arizona (48-17) 422 1 3
11. North Carolina State (43-20) 408 13 0
12. TCU (40-22) 359 15 0
13. Florida (47-20) 350 6 1
14. Oregon State (40-20) 329 22 0
15. Kentucky (45-18) 307 19 0
16. Oklahoma (42-25) 302 14 0
17. Rice (41-19) 248 20 0
18. (tie) Mississippi State (40-24) 215 NR 0
18. (tie) San Diego (40-17) 215 NR 0
20. Arizona State (36-20) 204 NR 0
21. Georgia Tech (38-26) 187 NR 0
22. Cal State Fullerton (36-21) 165 NR 0
23. Baylor (49-17) 130 9 0
24. Texas A&M (43-18) 124 18 0
25. (tie) Virginia (40-18-1) 111 23 0
25. (tie) Louisville (41-22) 111 NR 0

Others receiving votes: Mississippi (37-26) 92; Texas (30-22) 84; Kent State (47-20) 68; Clemson (35-28) 63; Miami (Fla.) (36-23) 61; St. John’s (40-23) 58; Stony Brook (52-15) 28; Central Florida (45-17) 27; Purdue (45-14) 26; Tulane (38-20) 19; UC-Irvine (31-25) 13; Pepperdine (36-23) 9; Missouri State (40-22) 8; California (29-25) 6; Oklahoma State (32-25) 6; Georgia (31-26) 5; New Mexico (37-24) 5; Southern Mississippi (32-24) 5; North Carolina-Wilmington (39-23) 3; Sam Houston State (40-22) 3; Cal Poly (36-20) 2; Coastal Carolina (42-19) 2; Dallas Baptist (41-19) 2; Fresno State (31-28) 2; Notre Dame (31-27) 1; Virginia Tech (34-21) 1; Wichita State (35-25) 1.

The USA TODAY Sports Board of Coaches is made up of 31 coaches at Division I institutions. All are members of the American Baseball Coaches Association. The board for the 2013 season: John Anderson, Minnesota; Ed Blankmeyer, St. John's; Rob Cooper, Wright State; Barry Davis, Rider; Greg DiCenzo, Holy Cross; Pete Dunn, Stetson; Nino Giarrantano, San Francisco; Gary Gilmore, Coastal Carolina; Danny Hall, Georgia Tech; Carlton Hardy, Savannah State; Rodney Hennon, Georgia Southern; Loren Hibbs, Charlotte; Charlie Hickey, Central Connecticut State; George Horton, Oregon; Steve Jaksa, Central Michigan; Omar Johnson, Jackson State; Rick Jones, Tulane; Rob McDonald, Murray State; Eric Madsen, Utah Valley; John Musachio, Oakland (Mich.); Bobby Pierce, Troy; David Pierce, Sam Houston State; Gary Powers, Nevada; Mark Scalf, UNC-Wilmington; Matt Senk, Stony Brook; Dave Serrano, Tennessee; Ed Servais, Creighton; Doug Smith, UC-Riverside; Steve Smith, Baylor; Rocky Ward, New Mexico State; Bob Whalen, Dartmouth.

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