The UCLA Baseball team has been ranked No. 2 in the USA Today/ESPN Top 25 Coaches' preseason poll. The Bruins, who reached the College World Series for the second time in three seasons in 2012, received four first-place votes in the poll.
Arkansas came in at No. 1 in the preseason poll, followed by the Bruins, LSU, North Carolina and South Carolina in that order. Oregon, Stanford, Vanderbilt, Florida State and Arizona rounded out the top-10. The No. 2 preseason ranking is the highest the Bruins have earned in a preseason poll since the program was ranked preseason No. 1 by USA Today/ESPN in 2011.
UCLA is one of six Pac-12 teams in the preseason top 25, joining Oregon (No. 6), Stanford (No. 7), Arizona (No. 10), Oregon State (No. 14) and Arizona State (No. 20). The Bruins will play a total 21 games against teams in the preseason top-25. They will play a three-game series against each of the aforementioned Pac-12 teams, a three-game series against No. 23 Baylor, a two-game set against No. 22 Cal State Fullerton, and one game against No. 16 Oklahoma.
In addition to the USA Today/ESPN poll, UCLA has been ranked No. 5 in Collegiate Baseball's preseason top-40 poll, No. 6 in Perfect Game USA's preseason top-25 poll, and No. 12 in Baseball America's preseason poll.
Bruins are of course back to back defending Pac-12 champions with the core of last year's pitching staff returning this season. Ryan is going to have detailed breakdown/previews of the team starting next week. Season gets started officially against Minnesota on Friday, February 15 at the Jackie Robinson Stadium. We can't wait.