Missouri softball predicted to finish second in Big 12

Tuesday, January 18, 2011 | 9:03 p.m. CST; updated 11:50 p.m. CST, Tuesday, January 18, 2011

COLUMBIA — For the third year in a row, coaches chose the Missouri softball team to finish second in the Big 12 Conference behind Oklahoma in the preseason poll.

Missouri received two first-place votes and 71 points. No. 1 Oklahoma was awarded 79 points and received seven of 10 first-place votes. Texas was voted third with 69 points and received the final first-place vote. The results were announced Tuesday afternoon.

The Tigers finished fifth in last year's regular season standings and lost to Oklahoma in the final of the Big 12 tournament. But they made last year's Women's College World Series, their second straight berth.

The Tigers return eight starters from last year including three of their four pitchers. Two-time All-American outfielder Rhea Taylor and 2010 All-Big 12 selections Jenna Marston, a shortstop, and Ashley Fleming, a first baseman and outfielder, are among those returning.

The Tigers will begin the year against Fresno State on Feb. 18 at the San Diego Classic. Before leaving for San Diego, the team will hold their annual Black and Gold exhibition game at 3 p.m. on Feb. 12.

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