February 9, 2018 10:41:47 AM
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Florida and Arkansas were picked to win the Eastern and Western Divisions in the Southeastern Conference preseason baseball poll released Thursday.
Mississippi State, which was picked the finish fifth in the West by the league coaches, also placed junior outfielder Jake Mangum on the preseason first-team All-SEC list.
Ole Miss received one first-place vote and was picked to finish third in the West. Alabama was picked to finish seventh in the West.
Last season, Mangum finished 11th in the SEC in batting average (.324) despite playing the second half of the season with a broken hand.
As a freshman in 2016, Mangum was the SEC Batting Champion and the SEC Freshman of the Year.
This season, he has three preseason All-America honors (D1 Baseball, NCBWA, Perfect Game).
A 2017 Major League Baseball First-Year Player draft pick, Mangum elected to return to MSU for another year in the Maroon and White. Mangum received SEC All-Defensive Team and All-SEC Second Team honors following his sophomore season.
With 174 hits in his first two seasons, Mangum only trails Rafael Palmeiro (193) for the most hits in program history through the first two seasons of a career.
Alabama'a Cobie Vance joins Mangum in earning preseason first-team All-SEC honors. Vance was selected at second base. It is the first preseason recognition of his career, and the first by a member of the Crimson Tide since 2015.
The junior infielder has played in every game since coming to Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He has started all 112 contests at second base. In his first two seasons, he has maintained a .275 batting average and has 18 doubles, one triple, three home runs, and 55 RBIs to go with 51 runs.
Ole Miss junior closer Dallas Woolfolk was named preseason second-team All-SEC.
NCBWA, Collegiate Baseball, Baseball America, and D1Baseball named Woolfolk a Preseason All-American.
The Southaven native set a school single-season record last season with 12 saves. He led the team in appearances with 26, all in relief, totaling a 2.15 earned run average and 3-2 record. The right-hander struck out 41 and held opposing hitters to a .200 clip in 37 2/3 innings.
Following the season, Woolfolk was selected to the Team USA Collegiate National Team, where he recorded a 0.87 ERA in 10 appearances, including the closing inning in the 41st USA vs. Japan Collegiate All-Star Series.
MSU is coming off a 40-27 season and a victory against Southern Mississippi in the regionals of the NCAA tournament. It is ranked as high as No. 12 in the D1 Baseball poll. It also is ranked in all five of the other major preseason top 25 polls.
MSU will open the season against Southern Mississippi at 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16, at Pete Taylor Park in Hattiesburg.
Fans will have opportunities to meet the team Sunday at Fan Day at the Palmeiro Center and Tuesday at Cowbell Yell.
Ole Miss will play host to Winthrop at 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16, in the first game of a three-game weekend series.
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