BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WTVA/SEC) - The University of Florida has been predicted to win the 2018 Southeastern Conference baseball championship as voted by the league’s 14 head coaches in the annual preseason poll released Thursday. The Preseason All-SEC First and Second Teams, as determined by the head coaches, were also announced.
Florida, the defending NCAA champion, garnered 12 first place votes, while Arkansas and Texas A&M had one each. The Gators were predicted to win the SEC Eastern Division, while Arkansas was the favorite to win the SEC Western Division.
Since 1996, the SEC has named a regular season champion as well as a tournament champion. Prior to 1996, the tournament champion was considered the SEC champion.
Points were compiled on a descending basis for each division. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team, and each coach also voted for one team as an overall conference champion.
For the second consecutive year, two Preseason All-SEC Teams were selected by the SEC head coaches. Thirteen schools were represented on the All-SEC teams with Florida leading the way with five total selections. Arkansas garnered four selections, while Kentucky had three. The Gators also claimed an SEC-best three first-team accolades.
The 2018 regular season for SEC teams begins Feb. 16, with conference play set to begin March 16.
The SEC led the nation with eight selections to the NCAA Baseball Tournament in 2017, and the championship series of the College World Series featured an All-SEC final between Florida and LSU.
2018 SEC Baseball Coaches Preseason Poll
1. Florida – 91
2. Kentucky - 74
3. Vanderbilt – 72
4. South Carolina – 50
5. Georgia – 41
6. Missouri – 32
7. Tennessee – 25
1. Arkansas – 90
2. Texas A&M – 72
3. Ole Miss – 62
4. LSU – 59
5. Mississippi State – 44
6. Auburn – 38
7. Alabama – 20
SEC Champion: Florida (12), Arkansas (1), Texas A&M (1)
2018 SEC Baseball Coaches Preseason All-SEC Team
C: Grant Koch, Arkansas
1B: Julian Infante, Vanderbilt
2B: Cobie Vance, Alabama
SS: Braden Shewmake, Texas A&M
3B: Jonathan India, Florida
OF: Antoine Duplantis, LSU
OF: Tristan Pompey, Kentucky
OF: Jake Mangum, Mississippi State
DH/UTL: Michael Curry, Georgia
SP: Brady Singer, Florida
SP: Casey Mize, Auburn
RP: Michael Byrne, Florida
C: JJ Schwarz, Florida
1B: Kameron Misner, Missouri
2B: Luke Becker, Kentucky
SS: Jax Biggers, Arkansas
3B: George Janca, Texas A&M
OF: Dominic Fletcher, Arkansas
OF: Zach Watson, LSU
OF: Carlos Cortes, South Carolina
DH/UTL: JJ Schwarz, Florida
SP: Sean Hjelle, Kentucky
SP: Blaine Knight, Arkansas
RP: Dallas Woolfolk, Ole Miss
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