PROVIDENCE, R.I. -
Defending BIG EAST Champion Louisville earned 454 points for a No. 19 ranking in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Preseason Poll. The Cardinals were joined in the top-40 by No. 35 USF (412 points) and No. 39 Notre Dame (401 points). St. John's and West Virginia also received votes. Texas, which lost in last year's College World Series Championship Final to LSU, earned the top position.
Louisville finished 2009 ranked 13th in the nation after advancing to an NCAA Super Regional for the second time in three years. The Cardinals return seven position starters, including all-American third baseman Phil Wunderlich, along with most of the pitching staff from their 2009 squad, which finished with a 47-18 record overall.
After coming up a game and a half short of their first regular season BIG EAST title in 2009, the USF returns a pair of 2009 freshman All-America selections in shortstop Sam Mende and first baseman Todd Brazeal and 2009 BIG EAST batting champ Junior Carlin, among others on a veteran laden team. USF returns all but five players from a team that went 34-25, which tied for the second-most wins in the past 12 seasons of USF baseball, and 18-7 in conference play, which was the most conference wins since joining the BIG EAST.
The Irish finished 2009 with a 36-23 mark and in fifth place in the BIG EAST. Notre Dame returns all but four letterwinners from last year's squad, including All-BIG EAST Second Team junior pitcher Cole Johnson, who led ND with a 7-3 record.