BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The No. 17 LSU softball team was selected to finish in eighth place Monday by the SEC coaches during the league’s annual preseason poll.
New for the 2014 season, points were awarded on a 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12 basis. The SEC Athletic Directors voted in late August to discontinue the use of division in softball. Coaches weren’t allowed to vote for their own team when submitting their ballots.
LSU won the final SEC Western Division title and finished in a fourth-place tie en route to a 42-16 record during the 2013 season, the program’s 15th 40-win season since softball was reinstated in 1997.
The Tigers returned 14 letterwinners led by a trio of All-SEC honorees in A.J. Andrews, Bianka Bell and Jacee Blades. Andrews was a NFCA All-American Third-Team selection, while Bell was named the SEC’s Freshman of the Year. Four members of LSU’s six-player freshman class collected NFCA or Max Preps All-American status during their prep careers.
Florida, the 2013 SEC regular season champion, was chosen to repeat with 10 of 13 first-place votes followed by national runner-up Tennessee with two first-place votes. Alabama was tabbed third and earned one first-place vote. Eight of the 13 SEC squads appear in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 preseason poll which was released last week.
The Tigers are 10 days away from their season opener and play host to Texas, a 2013 Women’s College World Series participant. First pitch is on-tap for 6 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 6 from Tiger Park. LSU welcomes Central Arkansas, Minnesota, Murray State, Oklahoma State and SIU-Edwardsville for the Tiger Classic. The three-day tournament runs from Feb. 7-9.
Season tickets can be purchased for $75 at www.LSUtix.net for a banner home schedule that features 15 games versus 2013 NCAA Tournament teams. LSU squares off with two more 2013 Women’s College World Series opponents in Florida (March 14-16) and national runner-up Tennessee (April 4-6) in addition to NCAA Tournament participants Georgia (April 11-13) and Mississippi State (May 2-4) for three-game SEC series at Tiger Park.
For all of the latest news and information on Tiger softball, visit www.lsusports.net/softball. Fans can also follow the program on its social media outlets at www.Facebook.com/lsusoftball along with @lsusoftball and @bethtorina on Twitter and @lsusb on Instagram.
2014 SEC Preseason Poll – January 27, 2014
1 – Florida (10 First Place Votes)
2 – Tennessee (2 First Place Votes)
3 – Alabama (1 First Place Votes)
4 – Georgia
5 – Kentucky
6 – Missouri
7 – Texas A&M
8 – LSU
9 – Arkansas
10 – Auburn
11 – South Carolina
12 – Mississippi State
13 – Ole Miss