LSU softball garners Top 25 preseason rankings

BATON ROUGE – The LSU softball program registered No. 16 and No. 19 preseason national rankings according to the ESPN.com/USA Softball and USA Today/NFCA Top 25 polls released Tuesday.

LSU has 13 letterwinners coming back for the 2011 season sparked by Rachele Fico and Anissa Young, a pair of NFCA All-South Region First-Team selections. Fico also was tabbed SEC Co-Freshman of the Year and earned a spot on the All-SEC Second Team last season.

The Tigers have 15 contests on-tap against Top 25 opponents, including nine tilts versus four teams inside the Top 7 of both polls that appeared in the 2010 Women’s College World Series.

Joining LSU from the SEC among the Top 25 are No. 3/4 Georgia, No. 4/7 Tennessee, No. 5/5 Florida and No. 6/3 Alabama, while Auburn and Kentucky are receiving votes in both polls.

Non-conference ranked opponents on LSU's 2011 docket include No. 2/1Arizona, No. 15/15 Texas and No. 23/22 Oklahoma State. The Tigers also square off against Fordham and Hofstra from the receiving votes category.

“First off, to be chosen among the nation’s elite softball programs to start the season is something we don’t take for granted,” head coach Yvette Girouard said. “We also know at the same time that there are four SEC teams in front of us and a lot of hard work ahead of us if we want to reach our goals.”

LSU is 17 days away from first pitch and playing host to the Wilson/DeMarini Tiger Classic. Bowling Green, Louisiana Tech and Purdue head to the Capitol City as the Tigers open the season at home for the first time since 2008.

LSU earned a runner-up finish at the SEC Tournament en route to a 45-16 finish, its 10th season with at least 45 victories since softball was reinstated in 1997. The Tigers also reeled off a program-best 24-game winning streak and recorded their 12th NCAA Regional appearance in 2010.

Fans can get updated information on the softball team at www.Facebook.com/lsusoftball and on Twitter at Twitter.com/LSU_Softball.

Ticket information for a marquee home schedule that features home series with SEC heavyweights Alabama, Florida, Kentucky and Tennessee is available at www.LSUtix.net.

USA Today/NFCA Top 25 Poll

Rank, Team, 2010 Record, Points, Final 2010 Ranking

1, UCLA (27), 50-11, 738, 1

2, Arizona (3), 52-14, 715, 2

3, Georgia, 50-13, 669, 3,

4, Tennessee, 49-15, 645, 4

5, Florida, 49-10, 607, 6

6, Alabama, 52-11, 588, 9

7, Missouri, 51-13, 564, 8

8 Hawai`i, 50-15, 500, 7

9, Oklahoma, 47-12, 488, 11

10, Washington, 50-9, 475, 5

11, Michigan, 49-8, 445, 10

12, California, 44-19, 413, 13

13, Arizona State, 44-17, 403, 12

14, Oregon, 36-21, 387, 14

15, Texas, 43-15, 286 18

16, BYU, 46-13, 269, 15

17, Louisiana.-Lafayette, 45-18, 248, 16

18, Georgia Tech, 51-11, 231, 17

19, LSU, 45-16, 219, 19

20, Stanford, 37-19, 209, 21

21, Texas A&M, 44-16, 170, 20

22 Ohio State, 39-14, 100, 22

23 Oklahoma State, 44-16, 83, 23

24, Illinois, 45-18, 69, 25

25, North Carolina, 42-20, 51, 24

Others receiving votes: Fresno State 31, Hofstra 29, Florida State 22, Fordham 13, DePaul 12, Nebraska 9, Lipscomb 8, Radford 7, FIU 7, Kentucky 7, Louisville 6, Notre Dame 6, Texas Tech 4, East Carolina 4, Massachusetts 3, Auburn 3, San Diego State 1, Long Island 1, Illinois State 1 and Northwestern 1.

ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 Poll

Rank, Team, 2010 Record, Points, Final 2010 Ranking

1, Arizona (9), 52-14, 488, 2

2, UCLA (10), 50-11, 462, 1

3, Alabama (1), 52-11, 420, 8

4, Georgia, 50-13, 405, 4

5, Florida, 49-10, 389, 6

6, Oklahoma, 47-12, 382, 10

7, Tennessee, 49-15, 367, 3

8, Michigan, 49-8, 353, 11

9, Missouri, 51-13, 340, 9

10, Arizona State, 44-17, 309, 13

11, Washington, 50-9, 299, 5

12, California, 44-19, 266, 12

13, Hawai`i, 50-15, 252, 7

14, Oregon, 36-21, 229, 14

15, Texas, 43-15, 217, 19

16, LSU, 45-16, 208, 18

17, Georgia Tech, 51-11, 179, 16

18, Stanford, 37-19, 165, T24

19, Texas A&M, 44-16, 121, 22

20, BYU, 46-13, 96, 15

21, Louisiana-Lafayette, 45-18, 80, 17

22, Oklahoma State, 44-16, 71, 23

23, Florida State, 44-18, 61, RV

T24, Illinois, 45-18, 56, 21

T24, Ohio State, 39-14, 56, T24

Others receiving votes: Fordham 41; San Diego State 30; Massachusetts 29; Notre Dame 22; North Carolina 13; Northwestern 11; Oregon State 11; DePaul 10; Fresno State 9; Hofstra 9; Kentucky 8; Louisville 8; Lipscomb 7; Radford 7; FIU 5; Texas Tech 4; East Carolina 2; Syracuse 2; and Maryland 1.

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