Baseball Earns Preseason No. 8 Ranking By Baseball America
Jan. 2, 2003
TEMPE, Ariz. (www.TheSunDevils.com) -- The Arizona State Sun Devils have been ranked No. 8 in the nation in Baseball America's annual college baseball preseason poll that was released Thursday. The Sun Devils already received a preseason No. 12 ranking from Collegiate Baseball and have now been ranked in 59 consecutive polls dating back to the start of the 2000 season. In addition to the team preseason accolade, junior outfielder Rodney Allen was named a third-team preseason All-American by the publication.
The No. 8 preseason ranking is the highest for ASU since garnering a No. 5/6 (CB/BA) selection in 1998. ASU ended that year playing for the National Championship against USC in the College World Series. The Devils return 21 letterwinners from the 2002 squad that finished third in the Pac-10 with a 37-21 record and hosted an NCAA Regional. ASU also returns 10 top position players and six top pitchers from that squad and feature a recruiting class that was ranked as one of the best in the nation.
Georgia Tech begins the season as Baseball America's top-ranked team, followed by No. 2 Rice, No. 3 Stanford, No. 4 Florida State and No. 5 Texas to round out the top five. In addition to Pac-10 powers Stanford and ASU in the top 10, the USC Trojans begin the season ranked No. 6 in the nation. ASU's tough 62-game schedule features 28 games against 11 schools that are ranked in Baseball America's preseason top 50 poll, including: Stanford (#3), USC (#6), Notre Dame (#12), Long Beach State (#16), California (#32), Oklahoma State (#33), Oklahoma (#38), Wichita State (#41), San Diego State (#45), Washington (#47) and UC Irvine (#49).
Allen was ASU's lone representative on the preseason All-American team that is selected annually by scouting directors from various Major League baseball teams. Selections are based entirely on performance, talent and major league potential. The junior from Culver City, Calif., joins fellow Sun Devils junior RHP Ryan Schroyer (3rd, CB; 2nd, NCBWA), junior catcher/DH Jeremy West (3rd, CB) and junior outfielder Andre Ethier (3rd, NCBWA) who have earned preseason All-American honors. Allen carries a career .329 batting average into the season with 29 doubles, 12 home runs and 103 RBI.
The Sun Devils open the 2003 season with six games starting Jan. 16 at Hawaii-Hilo. After unofficially opening the season Jan. 11 with the annual Alumni game on Jan. 11 (1 p.m.) at Packard Stadium, the Devils will begin the first of their 37-game home schedule on Jan. 24 when Tony Gwynn makes his college head coaching debut for the San Diego State Aztecs. The Jan. 16 season opener is the second earliest in 92 years of Sun Devil baseball.
2002 Final Rank
Cal State Fullerton
Long Beach State
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