FILE- In this June 12, 2015, file photo, Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan speaks during a news conference in Omaha, Neb. Florida’s baseball program has done everything except win a national championship in eight years under Kevin O’Sullivan, and this year the Gators are again with a roster overflowing with talent and the consensus No. 1 ranking in the preseason polls. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, file)

Florida Baseball Ranks No. 6 In Preseason Poll

The Florida Gators baseball team enters their season on a high note, ranked No. 6 in DI Baseball’s Preseason Top 25 poll released Monday.

What This Means

Though the team finds itself outside the top five, it ranks third among SEC teams overall. Vanderbilt ranks No. 1, while LSU sits right behind at No. 2. Other SEC teams ranked include No. 9 Georgia, No. 10 Ole Miss, No. 14 Mississippi State, No. 16 Arkansas and No. 22 Auburn.

Florida was also ranked No. 6 by Collegiate Baseball, and No. 9 by Perfect Game in their preseason polls.

The Gators left the 2018 season with a 49-21 record, defending their 2017 College World Series title. But a return didn’t quite pan out. Though they dominated the SEC East, they made an early exit in the third round of the 2018 SEC Tournament, with a loss to Arkansas.

Junior Wil Dalton enters the season having earned Third Team All-America honors back in December. In his sophomore year, Dalton ranked second in the SEC in both RBI and home runs. Expectations remain high after his solid performance from the previous season.

Some new faces join the squad in two new pitchers, Ben Specht and Nolan Crisp. Specht was drafted in the 40th round of the 2018 MLB Draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Freshman outfielder Kendrick Calilao was drafted in the 30th round of the 2018 MLB Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals. Apart from Calilao, the Gators have added two additional freshman outfielders, Jacob Young and Judson Fabian.

The Season Ahead

Some key ranked opponents the Gators will face this season include LSU, Vanderbilt, Georgia, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Florida State.

The 2019 season will be coach Kevin O’Sullivan’s 12th with the team as he looks to maintain a 497-229 career record. The team has topped the SEC East for two consecutive seasons.

The season opens up on February 15th at Alfred A. McKethan Stadium against Long Beach State.

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