SEC Coaches Pick Aggies Second in the Western Division

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COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Texas A&M was selected to finish second in the SEC Western Division in the 2018 Southeastern Conference Baseball Preseason Coaches Poll, the league announced Thursday.

The Aggies were slotted to finish second in the West behind Arkansas, who received 12 of 14 first-place votes. Texas A&M and Ole Miss each received one first-place vote. Arkansas was tabbed favorites with 90 points. Texas A&M logged 72 points followed by Ole Miss (62), LSU (59), Mississippi State (44), Auburn (38) and Alabama (20).

Defending national-champion Florida was a unanimous choice to win the Eastern Division. The Gators earned 91 points, followed by Kentucky (74), Vanderbilt (72), South Carolina (50), Georgia (41), Missouri (32) and Tennessee (25).

Florida was the clear favorite to win the overall league title, picking up 12 of 14 first-place votes. Arkansas and Texas A&M each picked up one first-place vote.

Entering their sixth season in the SEC, the Aggies’ best finish in the Western Division was second place in both 2015 and 2016. In 2016, the Texas A&M finished just one game behind Mississippi State for the Western Division title and overall regular-season crown. The Aggies rebounded that season to win the Southeastern Conference Tournament for their first SEC title.

Nationally, the Aggies are ranked No. 9 in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Preseason Poll. Texas A&M was slotted No. 10 by D1Baseball.com and Baseball America and No. 11 in the USA Today Coaches Poll.

The Aggies’ lineup returns five starters from last season, led by All-America and SEC Freshman of the Year Braden Shewmake who batted .328 with 47 runs, 18 doubles, two triples, 11 home runs and 69 RBI in 2017. Cole Bedford (.301, 13 doubles, 3 HR, 26 RBI), Hunter Coleman (.283, 7 doubles, 5 HR, 22 RBI), Logan Foster (.280, 13 doubles, 6 HR, 24 RBI) and George Janca (.261, 9 doubles, 6 HR, 30 RBI) also return to the lineup.

The Maroon & White return a wealth of talent on the mound, including 2017 MLB Draft picks Cason Sherrod (4-1, 4 saves, 2.89 ERA) and Kaylor Chafin (7-2, 3 saves, 2.33 ERA). Stephen Kolek (4-5, 3.79 ERA), Mitchell Kilkenny (3-3, 7 saves, 3.67 ERA) and John Doxakis (4-3, 5.44 ERA) buoy the squad’s expectations for 2018.

Texas A&M capped their 2017 campaign with their sixth trip to the College World Series and a 41-23 record.

The 2018 regular-season for NCAA Division I begins on Friday, Feb. 16 with Texas A&M hosting Rhode Island. SEC league play is set to begin Friday, March 16 with the Maroon & White traveling to Auburn. The SEC Tournament will be played at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium in Hoover, Alabama on May 22-27.

2018 SEC BASEBALL COACHES PRESEASON POLL
Western Division

1. Arkansas (12) – 90

2. Texas A&M (1) – 72

3. Ole Miss (1) – 62

4. LSU – 59

5. Mississippi State – 44

6. Auburn – 38

7. Alabama – 20

Eastern Division

1. Florida (13) – 91

2. Kentucky (1) - 74

3. Vanderbilt – 72

4. South Carolina – 50

5. Georgia – 41

6. Missouri – 32

7. Tennessee – 25

() – First place votes

SEC Champion: Florida (12), Arkansas (1), Texas A&M (1)