Diamond Dogs are Top 5 in USA preseason poll

The University of Georgia debuts at No. 4 in the USA TODAY Sports preseason baseball coaches top 25 poll, it was announced Thursday.

Georgia's No. 4 ranking is its best in the preseason since 2009 when Collegiate Baseball and the USA TODAY/ESPN Coaches poll both had the Bulldogs at No. 4. The 2009 Bulldogs reached No. 1 for several weeks during the regular season.

The USA TODAY Sports voting board is made up of 31 coaches at Division I institutions and all are members of the American Baseball Coaches Association. The 2020 top five featured Vanderbilt, Louisville, Texas Tech, Georgia and Arkansas.

The Bulldogs and Razorbacks are the only two schools to earn a national top eight seed in each of the past two NCAA Championships. In 2019, the Bulldogs went 46-17 including a school record 21 Southeastern Conference wins during the regular season. They were a No. 4 national seed in 2019 and a No. 8 national seed in 2018.

The 2020 season, under the direction of Ike Cousins head coach Scott Stricklin, begins on Feb. 14. Season tickets are sold out but single game tickets are available. Fans can call (706) 542-1231 to purchase tickets or go online at www.georgiadogs.com/tickets.

In 2020, Georgia welcomes back 20 lettermen and 18 newcomers. Seven starting position players return including two 2019 draft picks in Gold Glove Award-winning shortstop Cam Shepherd and infielder/outfielder Riley King. On the mound, Georgia will have a pair of projected first round draft prospects in right-handers Emerson Hancock and Cole Wilcox. Also, junior left-hander C.J. Smith, who was a key member of the starting rotation that helped win series over nationally ranked Vanderbilt and LSU in 2019, is back. Last year, Georgia went 46-17 and set a school record with a .980 Fielding Percentage, and its 3.24 Earned Run Average was the second best in school history.

In other 2020 preseason top 25 polls, Georgia is ranked No. 5 by D1Baseball.com, No. 7 by Collegiate Baseball poll, No. 7 by Baseball America and No. 10 by Perfect Game

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