Baseball America ranked John Cohen's fifth MSU baseball edition at No. 5 in its annual preseason poll announced Thursday by the Durham, N.C.-based publication. State picked up a fourth top 20 ranked Thursday afternoon when USA TODAY Sports listed the Bulldogs in a tie for 18th in that publication's coaches' poll.
The No. 5 ranking by Baseball America is the program's highest since State took a school-best No. 1 preseason national ranking into the 1989 campaign.
The Bulldogs open their formal preseason team workouts with a trio of afternoon scrimmages this weekend --- Friday at 4 p.m., Saturday at 1 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. All MSU baseball practices are open to the public.
Collegiate Baseball ranked State 13th and Perfect Game at 16th in the two previously-announced preseason polls.
North Carolina heads up the Baseball America rankings, which include eight teams from the Southeastern Conference: No. 2 Vanderbilt, No. 3 Arkansas, No. 5 Mississippi State, No. 7 South Carolina, No. 10 LSU, No. 11 Kentucky, No. 13 Ole Miss and No. 17 Florida.
Ten voters among USA TODAY's panel of 31 college coaches put No. 1 Arkansas atop their ballots. LSU (No. 3), South Carolina (No. 5), Vanderbilt (No. 8), Florida (No. 13), Kentucky (No. 15), Mississippi State (t-No. 18) and Texas A&M (No. 24) also represented the SEC in the rankings.
Mississippi State's oldest sport opens its 123rd season of competition and a school-record 37-game home schedule Feb. 15-17 when the Bulldogs host Portland in a four-game set at Dudy Noble Field. The sale of State baseball season tickets, available through the MSU Athletic Ticket Office (www.HailState.com/tickets - 662-325-2600) have climbed to 5,283 and nearing the school-record 5,632 total distributed in 2010.