Tennessee Baseball before the Knoxville Super Regional. Photo by Ric Butler/Rocky Top Insider.
Tennessee Baseball has been given their second top five preseason ranking as preseason polls start to roll in, landing at No. 2 in Perfect Game USA’s 2023 Preseason Top 25 Poll released Wednesday.
The Vols come in one spot behind No. 1 LSU.
— Tennessee Baseball (@Vol_Baseball) January 4, 2023
Eight total SEC teams made the poll, with Arkansas coming in at No. 4, Ole Miss at No. 6, Florida at No. 8, Texas A&M at No. 10, Vanderbilt at 11, and Auburn rounding out the SEC’s overwhelming representation at No. 17.
Eight schools lead the way for most teams in one conference. Next closest is the ACC with seven.
Of the six major college baseball polls (D1, Baseball America, CBN, USA Today Coaches, NCBWA, PG), Perfect Game USA is the second site to release their Top 25. The Vols landed at No. 5 overall in Collegiate Baseball Newspaper’s Preseason Poll released last month.
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The reigning SEC champions lost an abundance of key pieces off of last season’s team including eight of the nine starters in the field, but Tennessee is bringing in plenty of talent. In addition to returning key bats Jared Dickey, Blake Burke and Christian Moore, the Vols also landed talented transfers in Kansas shortstop Maui Ahuna, Alabama transfer third baseman Zane Denton and Cincinnati transfer outfielder Griffin Merritt.
While Tony Vitello’s sixth Tennessee team doesn’t return the pieces that nearly led the Vols to a second consecutive CWS appearance, the Vols are bringing back the best starting rotation in the country with Chase Dollander, Chase Burns and Drew Beam. Tennessee is also returning key bullpen piece in fifth-year senior Camden Sewell.
Tennessee’s season kicks off on February 17 at the MLB4 Collegiate Baseball Tournament in Arizona.