UF softball picked to win SEC
Published: Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 4:24 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 4:24 p.m.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Southeastern Conference softball coaches picked Florida as the favorite to win the 2009 league title, the conference announced Tuesday. The Gators received 10 first-place votes and claimed the top spot in the predicted SEC Eastern Division standings.
4. South Carolina
3. Mississippi State
6. Ole Miss
Head coach Tim Walton, in his fourth year at Florida, returns eight of nine starters from the 2008 team that set an NCAA record with 70 wins. Five All-Americans, including 2008 SEC Pitcher of the Year senior Stacey Nelson and four All-SEC Freshmen Team selections come back to try to take UF’s second SEC title in as many years.
The Gators recorded the best conference winning percentage (.964) in the 12-year history of SEC softball with a 27-1 record en route the school’s second regular-season title and first tournament title. The ’08 team also made history as the first Florida team to advance to the Women’s College World Series and recorded the highest final ranking in school history (No. 3 ESPN.com/USA Softball & USA Today/NFCA).
Florida’s 10 points were the lowest total in the East, followed by Tennessee (19) and Georgia (30). In the Western Division, Alabama also claimed 10 points, followed by LSU (21) and Mississippi State. Alabama, which received one first-place vote, was the other SEC team to play in the WCWS last June.
Points were awarded on a one-through-five basis for the Eastern Division and a one-through-six basis in the West. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team.
The Gators kick off their season against Baylor on Friday, Feb. 6 at 6 p.m. at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. The home-opening weekend is the first for Florida in four years.
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