LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The LSU softball team is ranked No. 10 in the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association preseason poll released Tuesday.
It’s the first time since 2008 the Tigers, who advanced to the College World Series last season, will start the season ranked in the top 10.
Louisiana-Lafayette, which advanced to the super regionals last season, is ranked No. 11 after a 53-6 mark in 2012.
Coming off its third Women’s College World Series, LSU returns 12 letterwinners from a squad that went 40-25.
LSU will play 21 games against top 25 competition, including 12 games versus six teams in the 2012 NCAA super regional round.
Joining the Tigers from the Southeastern Conference in the top 25 is defending
national champion and No. 1 Alabama, along with No. 6 Tennessee, No. 8 Missouri, No. 9 Georgia, No. 14 Florida and No. 17 Texas A&M.
Nonconference ranked opponents on LSU’s schedule include No. 5 Oregon, No. 13 Arizona, No. 15 Michigan, No. 18 Louisville, No. 19 UCLA, No. 22 North Carolina and No. 25 Florida State.
“There’s no doubt that we have our work cut out for us and will face a strong mix of the nation’s elite programs throughout the season,” LSU coach Beth Torina said. “We’re pleased with the No. 10 ranking but know it’s not about where you start the season it’s where you finish.
“I firmly believe our team will be ready to meet all of the challenges ahead, and our goal is to be one of the eight teams playing in June in Oklahoma City.”