Tennessee baseball ranks No. 2 nationally in the preseason USA Today Coaches Poll coming in behind No. 1 LSU. The Vols received six first place votes compared to the Tigers’ 23.
The Vols are a staple in preseason top fives from different publications ranking No. 2 in Baseball America, D1Baseball, NCBWA and Perfect Game’s preseason rankings and No. 5 in Collegiate Baseball’s preseason rankings.
Tennessee is one of seven SEC teams in the preseason rankings along with top-ranked LSU, No. 4 Texas A&M, No. 5 Florida, No. 6 Arkansas, No. 7 Ole Miss and No. 9 Vanderbilt.
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The Vols spent most of the 2022 season at the top of the USA Today Coaches Poll and all five other polls as well. Tennessee posted a 57-9 (25-5 SEC) record on its way to earning the SEC Tournament and regular season championships.
Tennessee’s seasons saw a disappointing end as the Vols fell to Notre Dame in three games in the Knoxville Super Regional, failing to make the College World Series for the second consecutive season.
The Vols return an abundance of talent on the mound including All-American Chase Dollander and All-American candidates Chase Burns and Drew Beam and elite bullpen arm Camden Sewell.
However, Tennessee lost all eight position player starters from a season ago and will need offensive production from returning players stepping into bigger roles and incoming freshmen and transfers. That lack of returning production at the plate has Tony Vitello trying to temper expectations.
Tennessee baseball opens its 2023 season on Feb. 17 at the Desert Invitational in Arizona.