Georgia Softball Garners No. 3/4 Rankings In Preseason Polls
Jan. 25, 2011
ATHENS, Ga. – In the preseason top-25 polls for the 2011 softball season, the University of Georgia garnered rankings of No. 3 and No. 4 from USA Today/NFCA and ESPN.com/USA Softball, respectively, on Tuesday.
In the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association Top 25 Poll, Georgia received 669 total points to earn the No. 3 ranking, which is the best preseason ranking in program history. Additionally, it matches Georgia's highest-ever ranking in any poll as the Bulldogs were also tabbed No. 3 in the final USA Today/NFCA poll of the 2010 season, trailing only national champion UCLA and national-runner up Arizona, who respectively were named the top two teams in this year's preseason USA Today/NFCA poll. Southeastern Conference Eastern Division rivals Tennessee and Florida rounded out the top five.
In the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 Poll, Arizona edged out UCLA for the top spot while Alabama checked in at No. 3. Georgia earned 405 points to garner the No. 4 spot matching its finish in the final ESPN.com/USA Softball poll of the 2010 season. Florida concluded the top five.
Georgia is coming off of its second-ever and second-consecutive NCAA Women's College World Series appearance in 2010, and the Bulldogs are the only team to reach the WCWS Final Four in both 2009 and 2010.
In 2011, Georgia returns 17 players including every starter from a year ago, and 10 of the returning student-athletes played on both of Georgia's WCWS squads. Statistically, the Bulldogs return the vast majority of both their offensive and pitching production.
Last year, Georgia posted a 50-13 overall record. In the process of earning the team's first 50-win season since 2006, the Bulldogs established new single-season school records for home runs (99), runs (422), doubles (102), RBI (380), total bases (944), walks (231), slugging percentage (.578) and on-base percentage (.413).
From the plate, the players on last year's squad that are back in 2011 accounted for 504 hits (96.0% of the 2010 total), 379 runs (89.8%), 97 doubles (95%), 10 triples (100%), 96 home runs (97%), 368 RBI (96.8%), 909 total bases (96.3%), 221 walks (95.7%) and 116 stolen bases (91.3%).
From the circle, the 2011 returning pitches for Georgia accounted for 49 wins (98.0% of the 2010 total), 62 starts (98.4%), 392.2 innings pitched (95.7%) and 369 strikeouts (99.2%).
Nine of Georgia's 2011 opponents appeared in the two preseason polls including five opponents in the Top 10. Those foes include No. 2/1 (USA Today poll/ESPN.com poll) Arizona, No. 4/7 Tennessee, No. 5/5 Florida, No. 6/3 Alabama, No. 9/6 Oklahoma, No. 18/17 Georgia Tech, No. 19/16 LSU, No. 21/19 Texas A&M and No. 23/22 Oklahoma State.
Additionally, seven other 2011 Bulldog opponents received votes in at least one of the polls including Auburn, East Carolina, Illinois State, Kentucky, Lipscomb, Maryland and Oregon State.
USA Today/NFCA Preseason Top 25 Poll:
Others Receiving Votes: Fresno St. 31, Hofstra 29, Florida St. 22, Fordham 13, DePaul 12, Nebraska 9, Lipscomb 8, Radford 7, Florida International 7, Kentucky 7, Louisville 6, Notre Dame 6, Texas Tech 4, East Carolina 4, Massachusetts 3, Auburn 3,
San Diego St. 1, Long Island 1, Illinois St. 1, Northwestern 1.
ESPN.com/USA Softball Preseason Top 25 Poll:
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