By NEMS Daily Journal
Mississippi State and Ole Miss have been cast among the nation’s baseball elite.
Baseball America released its preseason rankings on Thursday, and MSU comes in at No. 5 – its highest preseason rank since being No. 1 in 1989.
Ole Miss checks in at No. 13, the 10th time it’s been ranked in the preseason under coach Mike Bianco.
The Bulldogs went 40-24 last season, won the SEC Tournament and reached an NCAA regional. They return 23 lettermen and lose only one starter in the field, and most of the pitching staff is back, too.
Ole Miss was 37-26 last year and also reached a regional.
The Rebels lost key players but do have a strong pitching staff anchored by Bobby Wahl.
The SEC had eight teams in Baseball America’s rankings, including five in the top 10. North Carolina is No. 1. Southern Miss is No. 23.
MSU opens its season the weekend of Feb. 15 against Portland, while Ole Miss will host TCU.