South Carolina, the two-time defending College World Series champion, was picked second in the USA Today/ESPN preseason baseball poll behind Southeastern Conference rival Florida.

Clemson is No. 23 in the rankings by coaches, which have Stanford, North Carolina and Texas at Nos. 3-5 behind the Gamecocks. Last season, USC finished 55-14, and Clemson was 43-20.

Clemson football

Clemson safety Rashard Hall will miss spring practice after having surgery on a left knee that bothered him most of this past season.

Hall had 89 tackles last season to lead the Tigers as they won their first Atlantic Coast Conference championship in 20 years. The school said Hall had surgery earlier this week. He is expected back for his senior season.

Hall hurt the knee in Clemson's season opener against Troy. He missed the following week's game against Wofford before returning to play the final 12 games. He made at least eight tackles in each of the Tigers' final five games last season.

Hall has started 31 of his 40 games at Clemson.

USC athletics

For the sixth straight year, South Carolina topped the Southeastern Conference fall Academic Honor Roll. A total of 534 student-athletes were named to the 2011 Fall SEC Academic Honor Roll.

The list is based on grades from the 2011 spring, summer and fall terms. USC led with 66 honorees, Alabama was next with 56, and Georgia had 51.

Coastal Carolina

State officials approved $10 million for Coastal Carolina to upgrade its baseball and softball fields.

The school said construction will start on the two complexes after the 2012 season and will be completed in time for the 2014 season. The baseball and softball teams will play home games at local fields next year.

Both fields are expected to receive new grandstands, restrooms, coaches offices, locker rooms and player lounges. The baseball field will expand from 850 seats to 2,500 seats and will have enough space to handle up to 6,000 fans for events like conference or NCAA postseason tournaments.