Five Big 12 baseball teams are ranked in Collegiate Baseball’s Preseason Top 40 poll for 2014. Oklahoma State (18th), TCU (19th), Texas (20th), Kansas State (28th) and Oklahoma (32nd) are on the list.
Oklahoma State is coming off an NCAA postseason appearance under head coach Josh Holliday, who will be embarking on his second season in 2014. OSU’s 2014 recruiting class was ranked fourth by Baseball America and fifth by Collegiate Baseball. The Cowboys finished 2013 with a 41-29 record.
TCU is ranked for the eighth time in the past 11 years and is ranked 19th or higher for the fifth straight season. TCU returns 14 letterwinners from a year ago, including seven of the everyday field starters and six pitchers. This past fall, TCU welcomed 18 new faces to the squad. The group was tabbed as the 17th best recruiting class in the nation by Baseball America.
Texas returns eight contributors from a pitching staff that ranked seventh nationally with a 2.61 ERA last season, including all three weekend starters in Dillon Peters, Nathan Thornhill and Parker French. Mark Payton, the team’s leading hitter last year and a 2014 preseason All-American, headlines the list of offensive returnees. The Longhorns also welcome 13 newcomers to the program that made up the second-ranked recruiting class in the nation by Baseball America.
Coming off its first conference title in 80 years and first trip to a Super Regional, K-State earned its highest preseason ranking ever. The Wildcats return Big 12 Player of the Year Ross Kivett and Big 12 Freshman of the Year Jake Matthys.
Oklahoma advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals in 2013 and will be led by first-year head coach Pete Hughes this season. The Sooners finished last season with a 43-21 and a No. 16 ranking from Collegiate Baseball.
The 2014 Big 12 baseball season starts on Friday, Feb. 14.
BIG 12 TEAMS IN THE COLLEGIATE BASEBALL PRESEASON RANKINGS
18. Oklahoma State
28. Kansas State