ATHENS — Coming off a runner-up finish in the College World Series, Georgia has been ranked No. 4 in the Collegiate Baseball Preseason Poll released Monday. LSU holds the top spot in the poll followed by North Carolina, Rice, Georgia and Stanford to round out the top five.
Georgia returns six starting position players including infielder Bryce Massanari (.325, 11 home runs, 65 RBI), outfielder Matt Cerione (.303, 7 HR, 33 RBI), infielder Michael Demperio (.238, 2 HR, 16 RBI), catcher Joey Lewis (.264, 6 HR, 38 RBI), infielder Rich Poythress (.374, 15 HR, 75 RBI) and outfielder/first baseman Lyle Allen (.274, 2 HR, 30 RBI).
Pitchers Trevor Holder (8-4, 4.41 ERA), Alex McRee (7-1, 3.98 ERA), Will Harvil (2-1, 4.88 ERA) and Dean Weaver (6-1, 4.24 ERA) also return.
Overall, the Bulldogs return 18 lettermen off the 2008 SEC Championship squad that posted a 45-25-1 record and a consensus number two final ranking in the national polls. Georgia has advanced to the College World series three times in the past five years.
The Collegiate Baseball Newspaper poll is the oldest college baseball poll. Its birth took place during the 1957 college baseball season.
The Bulldogs open the 2009 season Feb. 20 against Youngstown State at Foley Field.