Baseball Picked to Finish Fifth in SEC West

LSU head coach Paul Mainieri
LSU head coach Paul Mainieri (@LSUsports) (@LSUsports)
LSU Sports Interactive

BATON ROUGE -- LSU is predicted to finish fifth in the SEC Western Division as voted by the league’s 12 baseball coaches in the 17th annual preseason SEC poll. Vanderbilt, the 2007 SEC champion, was selected by the coaches as the favorite to win the 2008 title.

LSU finished fifth in the SEC West last season with a 12-17-1 league mark; however, the Tigers are expected to be much-improved this season with the addition of the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class.

“The competitor in me made my blood boil a little bit when I first saw the poll,” said second-year LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “But I then realized that preseason polls and prognostications have no effect upon how the season unfolds. We’ll see where we stand at the end of the season after 30 league games.”

In the overall SEC Champion vote, Vanderbilt received five of the 12 championship votes in the poll. Ole Miss followed closely behind with four votes, while South Carolina received three. Vanderbilt returns eight position starters and four pitchers from their 2007 squad which also won the SEC Tournament and earned the National No. 1 Seed in the NCAA Tournament.

In the Eastern Division, Vanderbilt was the favorite with 62 of a possible 66 points. South Carolina came in second with 58 points and Kentucky third with 42 points. Ole Miss was the clear favorite in the Western Division with a total of 65 points. Mississippi State, last season’s SEC representative at the College World Series, was second with 47, while Arkansas finished third with 39.

The 2008 season gets underway February 22. The conference schedule is set to begin the weekend of March 14-16. The 2008 SEC Tournament will be held May 21-25 at the newly refurbished Regions Park in Hoover, Ala.

The SEC Tournament has drawn over 100,000 fans four of the last six years. Nearly 1.7 million fans attended games in the SEC last season, an all-time NCAA record and the sixth year in a row the SEC has topped the one million mark in attendance, leading the nation once again in that category.

2008 SEC Coaches Poll

Eastern Division
Team Pts. '07 SEC Rec/Finish
1) Vanderbilt (7) 62 22-8 / 1st
2) S.Carolina (3) 58 17-13 / 2nd
3) Kentucky (1) 42 13-16-1 / 5th
4) Georgia (1) 38 11-19 / 6th
5) Florida 29 15-15 / 3rd
6) Tennessee 18 13-15 / 4th 

Western Division
Team Pts. '07 SEC Rec/Finish
1) OIe Miss (10) 65 16-14 / 3rd
2) Mississippi State 47 15-13 / 2nd
3) Arkansas (2) 39 18-12 / 1st
4) Auburn 34 10-20 / 6th
5) LSU 33 12-17-1 / 5th
6) Alabama 29 15-15 / 4th
( ) - First Place Votes

SEC Champion: Vanderbilt (5); Ole Miss (4); South Carolina (3)





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