Auburn Softball Selected Fourth In West By Conference Coaches
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AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM

Auburn Softball Selected Fourth In West By Conference Coaches

January 26, 2005

AUBURN - The Auburn softball team was tabbed to finish fourth in the Western Division of the Southeastern Conference as voted upon by league coaches, the SEC announced Wednesday.

The Tigers were given 36 points, just two behind No. 3 Mississippi State. Auburn was also selected fourth by SEC coaches last season, but finished second in the West and earned its second ever NCAA Regional berth.

The Tigers, who are receiving votes in the preseason polls of the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 and ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 rankings, finished 2004 at 42-18 overall and 19-10 in SEC play. Auburn returns six starters and 12 letterwinners from last season's club.

Alabama was selected by the coaches as the top team in the West, earning six first-place votes along the way. LSU, which won the SEC West last season, was picked to finish second with five first-place votes. Mississippi State comes at No. 3, followed by Auburn, Arkansas and Ole Miss.

Georgia was tabbed by the coaches as the No. 1 team in the East, gaining seven first-place votes and 47 overall. The Bulldogs, second-place finishers in the SEC East in 2004 with a 20-10 conference record, were also selected as the potential SEC Champion. Second-ranked Tennessee, No. 3 Florida, No. 4 South Carolina and No. 5 Kentucky finish out the division.

Points for the poll were allotted on a 6-5-4-3-2-1 basis for the Western Division and 5-4-3-2-1 for the East. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team.

The SEC Tournament will be held May 12-15 in Gainesville, Fla. The tournament, hosted this season by Florida, will take place at the Florida Softball Stadium.

Auburn opens up the 2005 season Feb. 4 in Miami at the Diamond Fun & Sun Classic, hosted by Florida International. The Tigers open against No. 22 South Florida at 9 a.m., then take on Illinois State at 11 a.m.

2005 Southeastern Conference Coaches Softball Poll

Western Division
1. Alabama (6)                56 points
2. LSU (5)  45
3. Mississippi State                 38
4. Auburn  36 points
5. Arkansas  23
6. Ole Miss  17

Eastern Division
1. Georgia (7)  47 points
2. Tennessee (4)                44
3. Florida                 30
4. South Carolina                25
5. Kentucky  14

First place votes in parentheses