Vandy Picked To Win SEC Baseball Title; UK's T.J. Collett Chosen First Team All-SEC

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Vanderbilt University has been predicted to win the 2020 Southeastern Conference baseball championship as voted by the league’s 14 head coaches in the annual preseason poll released Thursday. The Preseason All-SEC First and Second Teams, as determined by the head coaches, were also announced.

Vanderbilt garnered eight first place votes, Florida had two, while Arkansas, Auburn, Georgia and Mississippi State each had one. The Commodores were predicted to win the SEC Eastern Division, while Arkansas was the favorite to win the SEC Western Division.

Since 1996, the SEC has named a regular season champion as well as a tournament champion. Prior to 1996, the tournament champion was considered the SEC champion.

Points were compiled on a descending basis for each division. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team, and each coach also voted for one team as an overall conference champion.

For the sixth consecutive year, two Preseason All-SEC Teams were selected by the SEC head coaches. Thirteen schools were represented on the All-SEC teams with Mississippi State and Vanderbilt leading the way with five selections. Arkansas garnered four selections, while Auburn had three. Arkansas claimed an SEC-best four first-team accolades.

Kentucky first baseman T.J. Collett (pictured) was chosen to First-Team All-SEC. Collett has long been known for his prodigious power, swatting double-digit home runs each of the past two seasons despite battling a myriad of injuries, including one that caused him to miss the final 20 games of the 2018 season.

Collett enters the 2020 season needing 16 hits to join Kentucky’s career 100-hit club and 40 percent of his career hits have gone for extra bases. The senior from Terre Haute, Indiana is expected to play first base this season after primarily serving as the team’s DH his first three seasons.

The 2020 regular season for SEC teams begins Feb. 14, with conference play set to begin March 13.

The SEC led the nation with 10 selections to the NCAA Baseball Tournament in 2019, six teams in the Super Regionals and four teams in the College World Series.

2020 SEC Baseball Coaches Preseason Poll

Eastern Division

1. Vanderbilt (9) – 87

2. Florida (3) - 77

3. Georgia (2) – 76

4. Tennessee – 50

5. South Carolina – 48

6. Missouri – 32

7. Kentucky – 22

Western Division

1. Arkansas (5) – 82

2. Mississippi State (4) – 73

T3. Auburn (2) – 67

T3. LSU (3) – 67

5. Texas A&M – 44

6. Ole Miss – 38

7. Alabama – 21

() – First place votes

SEC Champion: Vanderbilt (8), Florida (2), Arkansas (1), Auburn (1), Georgia (1), Mississippi State (1)

2020 SEC Baseball Coaches Preseason All-SEC Team

First Team

C: Casey Opitz, Arkansas

1B: Cade Beloso, LSU*

1B: T.J. Collett, Kentucky*

2B: Justin Foscue, Mississippi State

3B: Austin Martin, Vanderbilt

SS: Casey Martin, Arkansas

OF: Daniel Cabrera, LSU

OF: Alerick Soularie, Tennessee

OF: Heston Kjerstad, Arkansas

DH/UTL: Matt Goodheart, Arkansas

SP: Emerson Hancock, Georgia

SP: Asa Lacy, Texas A&M

RP: Tyler Brown, Vanderbilt

Second Team

C: Ty Duvall, Vanderbilt

1B: Josh Hatcher, Mississippi State*

1B: Rankin Woley, Auburn*

2B: Noah Campbell, South Carolina*

2B: Harrison Ray, Vanderbilt*

2B: Riley King, Georgia*

3B: Tyler Keenan, Ole Miss

SS: Jordan Westburg, Mississippi State

OF: Jud Fabian, Florida

OF: Tyler Gentry, Alabama

OF: Rowdey Jordan, Mississippi State*

OF: Zach DeLoach, Texas A&M*

DH/UTL: Tanner Allen, Mississippi State

SP: Kumar Rocker, Vanderbilt

SP: Tanner Burns, Auburn

RP: Cody Greenhill, Auburn

*Tie (ties are not broken)

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