Softball Tabbed No. 1 In Big 12 Preseason Poll

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COLUMBIA -- The University of Missouri softball team was picked as the top team in the Big 12 coaches' preseason poll for the first time in program history, as announced today by the league office. The Tigers tallied 59 points and picked up three of the nine first place votes.

Mizzou returns 11 letterwinners from last year's team that won the program's first regular season Big 12 Championship since 1997 and qualified for the Women's College World Series for the third straight year. Amongst those returning include redshirt junior Chelsea Thomas, 2011 Big 12 Pitcher of the Year and one of three finalists for the USA Softball Player of the Year Award, and senior Ashley Fleming, an All-American from a year ago. Joining the Tigers this season are 10 freshmen in what is considered to be Ehren Earleywine's best signing class as head coach of Mizzou.

Oklahoma was picked to finish second, while Texas, Baylor, and Texas A&M round out the top five.

The Tigers open their season against Ball State and Troy University at the Quality Inn Classic in Troy, Alabama, on February 17.