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As first pitch approaches for the 2021 campaign, Texas earns a top-10 preseason ranking

Texas coach David Pierce (22) speaks with runners Eric Kennedy (30) and Silas Ardoin during a game against Abilene Christian on Mach 11, 2020. D1Baseball has voted Texas into the ninth slot of its preseason poll for the 2021 season.

When Texas makes its next appearance at UFCU Disch-Falk Field, it will do so as a top-10 team.

Texas was ranked ninth in D1Baseball's preseason poll, which was released on Monday. This marks the first time since 2015 that Texas has been a top-10 team in the publication's season-opening rankings.

On Monday, D1Baseball listed five Big 12 programs in a poll that was topped by Florida. Texas was joined by No. 3 Texas Tech, No. 10 TCU, No. 14 West Virginia and No. 20 Oklahoma State.

Last year, Texas went 14-3 before its season was struck out by the coronavirus pandemic. UT was not ranked in D1Baseball's final poll for the 2020 season. So why are the Longhorns getting so much love a year later?

Of the nine position players who started at least 10 times for Texas last season, eight are back with the Longhorns this spring. Ty Madden and Pete Hansen, who were both recently named preseason All-Americans by Collegiate Baseball, will anchor a pitching staff that lost its ace arm when Bryce Elder was drafted by Atlanta.

UT will also need a few fresh faces to contribute this season. Texas added graduate transfers Mike Antico (St. John's) and Palmer Wenzel (UTSA) to the roster during the offseason, and its 2020 recruiting class was originally rated as the nation's best by Baseball America. Four of those signees opted to start their professional careers, however

The Longhorns have not yet released their schedule for this spring. Texas last played on March 11, 2020.

Contact Danny Davis at 512-445-3952. Email ddavis@statesman.com or @aasdanny.