South Carolina Ranked No. 2 In USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Poll
<b> Colby Holmes </b>
 
Colby Holmes

Jan. 26, 2012

Columbia, S.C. - South Carolina is ranked No. 2 in the nation in the 2012 USA Today/ESPN Preseason Top 25 Coaches' Poll as announced on Thursday afternoon. The Gamecocks open the 2012 season on Friday, Feb. 17 hosting a three-game series with VMI at Carolina Stadium. South Carolina is the back-to-back defending national champion in NCAA Division I Baseball after winning consecutive titles at the 2010 and 2011 College World Series.

The preseason USA TODAY/ESPN Top 25 baseball coaches' poll, with FINAL 2011 RECORDS, total points based on 25 points for first place through one point for 25th, ranking in final 2011 poll (June 29) and first-place votes received:

Rank	School (2011 record)	Points	rank	votes
1.	Florida (53-19)	        759	2	17
2.	South Carolina (55-14)	740	1	12
3.	Stanford (35-22)	646	13	1
4.	North Carolina (51-16)	644	5	0
5.	Texas (49-19)	        629	7	0
6.	Texas A&M (47-22)	608	6	1
7.	Rice (42-21)	        533	21	0
8.	Arkansas (40-22)	470	23	0
9.	Florida State (46-19)	469	9	0
10.	Georgia Tech (42-21)	453	20	0
11.	TCU (43-19)	        420	19	0
12.	Vanderbilt (54-12)	343	3	0
13.	Miami (Fla.) (38-23)	338	24	0
14.	LSU (36-20)	        333	NR      0
15.	Oklahoma (41-19)	281	NR	0
16.	CalSt-Fullerton (41-17)	244	17	0
17.	Virginia (56-12)	218	4	0
18.	UCLA (35-24)	        217	22	0
19.	Oregon State (41-19)	214	11	0
20.	Arizona (39-21)	        210	25	0
21.	St. John's (36-22)	207	NR	0
22.	California (38-23)	181	8	0
23.	Clemson (43-20)	        180	16	0
24.	Louisville (32-29)	176	NR	0
25.	Georgia (33-32)	        151	NR	0

Carolina returns several letterwinners from last year's national championship squad including 2011 All-Americans Matt Price (RHP), Michael Roth (LHP) and Christian Walker (1B). Roth, a consensus All-American and CollegeBaseballInsider.com's National Player of the Year in 2011, went 14-3 last year while posting a 1.06 ERA in 145.0 innings of work. Price was also a consensus All-American in 2011 and a finalist for the 2011 NCBWA Stopper of the Year award. He earned first-team All-SEC honors and was on the College World Series All-Tournament Team. One of the nation's top closers in 2011, Price went 7-3 with a 1.83 ERA along with 20 saves in 59.0 innings pitched. A first-team All-SEC selection, opponents hit just .213 against him as he compiled 75 strikeouts. Price is looking to begin the 2012 season in the weekend rotation. Walker earned third-team All-America honors last year from Baseball America. He was the team's leading hitter in the 2011 season with a .358 average (97-for-271) along with 21 doubles, a triple, 10 homers and 62 RBI. A second-team All-SEC selection, Walker would go on to earn College World Series All-Tournament Team honors after playing the entire CWS Championship Series with a broken hamate bone in his left wrist.

Other returning starters with experience include senior outfielders Adam Matthews (.264-2-14) and Jake Williams (.268-2-38) along with junior outfielder Evan Marzilli (.291-3-31). Back in the mix on the mound are junior right-hander Colby Holmes (7-3, 3.69 ERA) and sophomore right-hander Forrest Koumas (6-1, 2.96 ERA).

South Carolina also ranked No. 2 in the Collegiate Baseball Preseason Top 40 and No. 3 in the Baseball America Preseason Top 25.