LUBBOCK, Texas – With team practice opening tomorrow, the Texas Tech baseball team was slotted No. 4 in the USA TODAY Sports preseason coaches poll, the publication announced Thursday.
This is the fourth preseason top-five ranking for the Red Raiders ahead of 2019. All five preseason polls that have been released have had Tech in their top-10.
It marks the second-straight year Texas Tech has started in the top-five of the USA TODAY coaches poll, as the Red Raiders posted a No. 3 ranking last season, which matched their highest preseason ranking in program history.
Texas Tech is the highest of five Big 12 teams in the poll. A total of six teams on Tech's 2019 schedule made the poll, including nonconference foes Mississippi State (No. 15) and Michigan (No. 25). Several more received votes, including Duke, Stetson, Kentucky and Oregon.
A unanimous top-five team entering 2018, Tech navigated through its slate to a fourth-straight 45-plus win season behind a 45-20 record, including a 15-9 conference mark en route to a No. 9 national seed. The Red Raiders returned to the College World Series for the third time in five years last season.
Now in his seventh year as head coach, head coach Tim Tadlock returns 16 letterwinners from last year's squad, including All-American third baseman Josh Jung and Freshman All-American Gabe Holt.
Jung and Holt, along with junior pitcher Caleb Kilian, have combined for six preseason All-American honors for the Red Raiders ahead of the 2019 season. Jung was tabbed a Preseason First Team All-American by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, Perfect Game/Rawlings and D1 Baseball, while Holt and Kilian received second team accolades by Perfect Game/Rawlings and Holt was also a third team selection by D1 Baseball.
The Red Raiders open the season with an eight-game home stand, featuring a four-game series against Oregon starting Friday, Feb. 15, at Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park. The home stand continues against Kentucky Feb. 22-24 followed by a Feb. 26 tilt against New Mexico State.
2019 PRESEASON POLLS
No. 3 – D1 Baseball
No. 4 – USA TODAY Coaches Poll
No. 4 – Collegiate Baseball Newspaper
No. 5 – Perfect Game
No. 8 – Baseball America