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      Baseball Hogs Ranked #1 In Pre-Season Top 40

      - After finishing last season with a third-place finish at the College World Series, the University of Arkansas baseball team will open the 2013 season as the nation's No. 1 ranked team, according to the Collegiate Baseball preseason top 40 poll, released on Thursday. The No. 1 ranking marks the first time in program history that the Razorbacks will open the season as the nation's top-ranked team.

      In addition to the preseason No. 1 ranking, it was also announced that juniors Dominic Ficociello, Ryne Stanek and Colby Suggs were named Louisville Slugger Preseason All-Americans.

      Arkansas finished the 2012 season with a 46-22 record and advanced to the College World Series for the seventh time in program history, finishing in a tie for third. The 46 victories were the most for the Razorbacks under head coach Dave Van Horn and the most in a season since the 1990 team won 47 games. Arkansas finished the season ranked in the top six in all four of the major national college baseball polls, including a No. 3 ranking in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll, the NCBWA poll and the Collegiate Baseball poll.

      The Razorbacks return 10 pitchers from last year's pitching staff that finished the season with a 2.83 team ERA, the second-lowest single-season ERA in program history. Arkansas' pitching staff had 10 shutouts, which also ranked as the second-highest total in a season. In the NCAA Tournament, Razorback pitchers compiled a 1.92 team ERA, including a team ERA of 1.80 in the College World Series. Junior Ryne Stanek and senior Randall Fant return as weekend starters from last year's team. Stanek, who earned All-SEC honors last season from SEBaseball.com, finished his sophomore year with an 8-4 record and a 2.82 ERA in 17 games. Fant pitched in 15 games, including 14 starts, in 2012 and compiled a 2-3 record with a 3.27 ERA.

      Out of the bullpen, junior right hander Colby Suggs, who was named a 2013 preseason All-American by the NCBWA, made 30 appearances in 2012 and went 7-1 with a 1.38 ERA. Junior righty Barrett Astin pitched in a team-high 32 games and had a 3-5 record with a team-leading 11 saves and a 1.99 ERA. Junior right hander Brandon Moore went 5-2 with three saves and a 2.43 ERA in 29 outings. Redshirt senior Trent Daniel (2-0, 1 save, 5.06 ERA), senior Cade Lynch (3-1, 2 saves, 2.11 ERA) and senior Tyler Wright (1-0, 2.60 ERA) are all left-handed options out of the bullpen. Sophomore right handers Michael Gunn (1-0, 2.57 ERA) and Chris Oliver (1-0, 3.86) also return for the 2013 season.

      Offensively, Arkansas returns six position players who made 30 or more starts during the 2012 season. Junior infielder Dominic Ficociello finished his sophomore season with a .290 batting average, six home runs and 41 RBI. Sophomore infielder/outfielder Brian Anderson, who was named to SEBaseball.com's SEC All-Freshman Team, and sophomore outfielder Joe Serrano were regulars in the starting lineup in the second half of the 2012 season. Anderson hit .283 with a pair of homers and 11 RBI, while Serrano batted .333 with seven RBI. In the NCAA Tournament, Serrano hit .444 (12-for-27) with a pair of RBI. Other returning position players that had 30 or more starts in 2012 include senior infielder Jacob Mahan (.257, 18 RBI), redshirt junior outfielder Jacob Morris (.236, 3 HR, 23 RBI), senior outfielder Matt Vinson (.217, 13 RBI) and junior catcher Jake Wise (.244, 2 HR, 25 RBI).

      All 14 SEC baseball programs are either ranked or receiving votes in the Collegiate Baseball preseason poll. Joining the Razorbacks in the top 40 are No. 3 Vanderbilt, No. 4 LSU, No. 7 South Carolina, No. 8 Kentucky, No. 13 Mississippi State, No. 24 Florida, No. 25 Ole Miss, No. 26 Texas A&M and No. 29 Georgia. Auburn, Alabama, Missouri and Tennessee are also receiving votes in the poll.

      The Razorbacks open the 2013 season on Friday, Feb. 15, when they host Western Illinois. First pitch is scheduled for 3:05 p.m.

      For more information regarding Razorback baseball or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.

      Collegiate Baseball Top 40 Preseason Poll

      1. Arkansas

      2. North Carolina

      3. Vanderbilt

      4. LSU

      5. UCLA

      6. Oregon

      7. South Carolina

      8. Kentucky

      9. Stanford

      10. Oregon State

      11. NC State

      12. San Diego

      13. Mississippi State

      14. Oklahoma

      15. TCU

      16. Arizona State

      17. Georgia Tech

      18. Arizona

      19. Florida State

      20. Rice

      21. Texas

      22. Louisville

      23. Cal State Fullerton

      24. Florida

      25. Ole Miss

      26. Texas A&M

      27. Clemson

      28. Miami (Fla.)

      29. Georgia

      30. UC Irvine

      31. Missouri State

      32. Wichita State

      33. New Mexico

      34. Kent State

      35. Virginia

      36. Southern Miss

      37. East Carolina

      38. Coastal Carolina

      39. Dallas Baptist

      40. Pepperdine

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