The South Carolina baseball team begins its season on Feb. 19.
The South Carolina baseball team is less than two weeks away from opening day, which will come on February 19th when Mark Kingston’s group hosts Dayton. The Gamecocks will begin the year ranked in the top 25, coming in at No. 18 in the national polls. The program will look to pick up where they left off last year, when they got off to a 12-4 start before the season was shut down amid the Coronavirus pandemic.
With the season just a few days away, the Southeastern Conference has revealed its choices for the league’s all-conference performers, as well as the predicted finish for each team in the SEC standings.
See where the Gamecocks landed below.
2021 SEC Baseball Coaches Preseason Poll
1. Florida (13) – 91
2. Vanderbilt (1) – 79
3. Tennessee – 58
4. South Carolina – 55
5. Georgia – 51
6. Missouri – 28
7. Kentucky – 23
1. Ole Miss (7) – 78
2. Mississippi State (3) – 73
3. Arkansas (2) – 72
4. LSU (2) – 63
5. Texas A&M – 36
6. Auburn – 32
7. Alabama – 31
() – First place votes
SEC Champion: Florida (12), Mississippi State (1), Vanderbilt (1)
South Carolina is projected to finish fourth in the SEC East, behind league favorite Florida, Vanderbilt, and Tennessee. Florida (1) and Vanderbilt (6) are both ranked in the top 10 of the preseason polls, while Tennessee will start the year at No. 19, one spot behind the Gamecocks.
In the Western division, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, LSU, and Arkansas all rank in the top 15, with the league having a total of nine teams in the preseason polls, the most of any major conference. Florida has been picked to win the league, with Vanderbilt and Mississippi State also receiving a vote each.
As far as the all-conference teams go, the Gamecocks landed just one player on the first or second teams. Wes Clarke, who was leading the league in homeruns prior to last year’s season cancellation, was picked as a second-team performer. He was batting .286 with 22 runs batted in. Clarke has also been selected as a preseason All-American by Collegiate Baseball.
Arkansas led the way with four first-team selections, while Florida, Auburn, Alabama, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, LSU, and Ole Miss also had multiple players land on the all-conference teams.
2021 SEC Baseball Coaches Preseason All-SEC Team
C: Casey Opitz, Arkansas
1B: T.J. Collett, Kentucky
2B: Robert Moore, Arkansas
3B: Rankin Woley, Auburn
SS: Ryan Bliss, Auburn
OF: Jud Fabian, Florida
OF: Christian Franklin, Arkansas
OF: Tanner Allen, Mississippi State
DH/UTL: Matt Goodheart, Arkansas
SP: Kumar Rocker, Vanderbilt
SP: Connor Prielipp, Alabama
RP: Devin Fontenot, LSU
C: Hayden Dunhurst, Ole Miss
1B: Josh Hatcher, Mississippi State
2B: Max Ferguson, Tennessee
3B: Tim Elko, Ole Miss
SS: Josh Rivera, Florida
OF: Rowdey Jordan, Mississippi State
OF: Owen Diodati, Alabama
OF: Cade Beloso, LSU
DH/UTL: Wes Clarke, South Carolina
SP: Jack Leiter, Vanderbilt
SP: Tommy Mace, Florida
RP: Ben Specht, Florida