PENSACOLA, Fla. – With opening day just more than two months away, the defending national champion West Florida Argos will start 2012 ranked No. 1 according to the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper.

Preseason Collegiate Baseball Rankings
Rank School Points
1 West Florida 640
2 Francis Marion 618
3 Central Missouri 606
4 Grand Valley State 590
5 Mount Olive 586
Complete Poll

Francis Marion earned the No. 2 spot in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper preseason coaches’ poll.  Tampa, Southern Connecticut State, Millersville and Grand Valley State also earned spots in the top 10.

The Argonauts will return in 2012 without several top players from last year’s championship squad, including eight that signed professional contracts over the summer. That list includes All-Americans Brandon Brewer, Greg Pron, Daniel Vargas-Vila and Shane Waller. Also signing pro contracts were Ben Hawkins, Zach Jadofsky, Dustin Lawley and Jason Postill.

The Argos will return first baseman Korey Domenick, third baseman Josh Huggins, outfielder Taye Larry and second baseman Leo Lamarche to the starting lineup. Huggins was an All-Gulf South Conference third baseman, and he and Larry both earned spots on the NCAA Championships All-Tournament Team.

Leading the returners on the pitching staff are starter Kevin Peters and reliever Jordan Rasinski.  Peters was one of the top freshmen in the GSC in 2011, posting a 5-1 record and a 2.23 ERA. Rasinski appeared in 16 games out of the bullpen and held opponents to a .216 batting average while posting a 3.43 ERA.