COLUMBIA – Eight months after being eliminated by Louisiana State in the NCAA Super Regionals, the Missouri softball team enters its first season in the Southeastern Conference ranked No. 8 in the country.
The USA Today/NFCA preseason poll included seven SEC teams, with Alabama's squad taking the top spot.
Missouri finished last season with a 47-14 record and a No. 11 ranking. Chelsea Thomas, the Big 12 Conference 2012 pitcher of the year and Tiger ace, returns to the mound to lead a young team with four freshmen and eight sophomores.
One of those freshman is Emily Crane, who won the Missouri Gatorade player of the year at Troy Buchanan High School last season.
The Tigers will hold their annual Black and Gold intrasquad game at 3 p.m. Feb. 9. The location will depend on the weather that afternoon.