Alabama Softball Ranked Among Best

The University of Alabama softball team came in near the top of both the Softball and USA Today/NFCA Top 25 polls, which were released Tuesday. The Crimson Tide checks in at No. 2 on the Softball poll and was ranked third by the USA Today/NFCA poll.

"We appreciate the respect of both polls," Alabama Coach Patrick Murphy said. "To be No. 2 or No. 3 in the country preseason is a great honor, but I know our group knows it is just the beginning. It's a long season."

Alabama returns 15 of 17 letter winners, including two All-Americans, from a 2011 team that won its second-consecutive Southeastern Conference regular season championship, claimed the No. 2 national-seed in the NCAA tournament and finished third at the Women's College World Series.

In the Softball Top 25, which is voted on by members of the media covering collegiate softball, Alabama is joined by conference foes Florida (4), Tennessee (9), Georgia (12), Kentucky (18) and LSU (20).

The USA Today/NFCA Top 25, voted on by Division I softball coaches, has rival Florida ranked second followed by Alabama at No. 3 along with SEC rivals Georgia (10), Kentucky (13), Tennessee (14) and LSU (22).

Alabama is scheduled to play 17 games against teams ranked in the USA Today/NFCA poll and 18 games against teams in the initial Softball ranking.

The Crimson Tide begins its 2012 slate against Memphis at the Mardi Gras Invitational in Mobile, Ala. First pitch is set for 3 p.m., on Feb. 10.

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