Texas Ranked No. 20 in Collegiate Baseball Preseason Poll

(Photo Credit: Stephen Spillman)
(Photo Credit: Stephen Spillman)

Longhorns are one of five Big 12 teams in the poll

The Texas baseball team has been ranked as the No. 20 team in the nation in a 2014 preseason poll released by Collegiate Baseball on Friday.

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.

Peters, a junior, was a second team All-Big 12 selection last season and compiled a 6-3 record with a 1.97 ERA. Thornhill, who racked up a team-high 60 strikeouts along with a 2.21 ERA last year, opted to return for his senior season after being selected by the Houston Astros in the 24th round of the 2013 MLB Draft. French, meanwhile, had a 2.68 ERA while logging 77 1/3 innings.

Mark Payton, the team's leading hitter last year and a 2014 preseason All-American, headlines the list of offensive returnees. Payton ranked 12th nationally with a .393 batting average in 2013, while also recording team bests in on-base percentage (.483) and slugging percentage (.545). Texas returns six offensive starters in all.

The Longhorns also welcome 13 newcomers to the program that made up the second-ranked recruiting class in the nation by Baseball America.

Texas is one of five Big 12 teams included in the top-40 poll, joining Oklahoma State (18), TCU (19), Kansas State (28) and Oklahoma (32).

2023 Texas Longhorns Sugar Bowl Official Gear

The Longhorns play their annual Alumni Game on Saturday, Feb. 1, at UFCU-Disch Falk Field, before opening the regular season on Feb. 14 at California.

Article courtesy of Texassports.com