Baseball Ranked In Preseason Poll, Van Houten Named 3rd-Team All-America

Dec. 19, 2003

TUCSON, Ariz.- With the start of collegiate baseball just over a month away, the Arizona squad will enter the year ranked 22nd in the nation by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper. The publication's preseason top 40 poll and All-America team were released on Friday.

The defending College World Series champions Rice Owls and Miami (Fla.) will open the season as the co-No.1 teams. LSU, Georgia Tech and Texas round out the top five. Among the teams in the preseason poll scheduled to face Arizona this season are No. 6 Stanford, No. 7 Arizona State, No. 8 Cal State Fullerton, No. 10 Notre Dame, No. 11 Baylor, No. 12 Long Beach State, No. 16 USC and No. 23 Washington.

The Wildcats return eight of the nine position starters from last season's team that appeared in the NCAA postseason for the first time since 1999 and led the nation in triples and triples per game and finished second in stolen bases.

Among the returnees is Collegiate Baseball and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association preseason third-team All-American junior Jeff Van Houten

Van Houten, a USA Today Sports Weekly third-team All-American outfielder after his sophomore season, finished 2003 as the Pac-10 batting champion with a .413 average, the first UA player to hit over .400 since 1993. He paced the Wildcats with 88 hits, nine triples and 72 RBI last year.

Arizona is set to open the 2004 campaign at home against No. 34 UC Riverside on Friday, February 6.

Collegiate Baseball Newspaper'sNCAA Div. I Pre-Season Poll(As of Dec. 19, 2003)Rank School ('03 Final Record)  	Points  	Final '03 Rank1. Rice (58-12) 			495		1   Miami, Fla. (45-17-1)		495		53. Louisiana St. (45-22-1)		491		74. Georgia Tech. (44-18)		489		145. Texas (50-20)			486		46. Stanford (51-18)			484		27. Arizona St. (54-14)			481		108. Cal. St. Fullerton (50-16)		477		39. Wichita St. (49-27)			475		NR10. Notre Dame (45-18)	        	470		28

11. Baylor (45-23) 468 1312. Long Beach St. (41-20) 464 1113. Tulane (44-19) 462 NR14. South Carolina (45-22) 458 615. Florida (37-21-1) 457 NR16. Southern California (28-28) 456 NR17. Clemson (39-22) 450 NR18. Auburn (42-21) 449 2019. Florida Atlantic (47-16) 446 2320. Nebraska (47-18) 445 15

21. North Carolina (42-23) 443 1922. Arizona (35-23) 441 NR23. Washington (42-18) 438 2724. Florida St. (54-13-1) 437 925. Minnesota (40-22) 432 NR26. Nevada-Las Vegas (47-17) 430 2627. Mississippi (35-27) 424 NR28. Winthrop (35-22) 416 NR29. North Carolina St. (45-18) 411 1230. Mississippi St. (42-20-1) 408 24

31. Ohio St. (44-21) 406 1832. Texas A&M (45-19) 403 1733. Oklahoma St. (34-24) 398 NR34. U.C. Riverside (41-17) 395 3035. Alabama (28-24) 392 NR36. Va. Commonwealth (46-13) 390 NR37. Southern Miss. (47-16) 386 2538. Tennessee (31-24) 380 NR39. San Diego (32-30) 378 NR40. Stetson (41-24) 375 NR

Italics indicate 2004 Arizona opponent

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