Jan. 23, 2013
BIRMINGHAM, Ala.--The UAB softball team has been picked by Conference USA's nine head coaches to finish fourth in this season's conference race, the league office announced Wednesday.
"I have a lot of excitement and anticipation as the 2013 season approaches," head coach Marla Townsend said. "Our student-athletes have bought in to our coaching plan and have excelled at creating a competitive atmosphere."
The Blazers capped the 2012 campaign with their third-straight NCAA Championship appearance, and finished with an overall record of 37-22. UAB's 17-7 mark in C-USA action gave the squad a second-place finish for the first time in program history.
Tulsa, the reigning C-USA regular season champion, was once again the preseason favorite to win the league in 2013 with six first-place votes. Also like 2012, Houston was picked to finish in second place, and UCF rounds out the top three.
"Conference USA is going to be a very competitive conference this season, and we are looking forward to the challenges we will be presented with," Townsend said.
Senior Whitney Fletcher and junior Kristen McGrath were also voted to the 2013 All-Conference USA Preseason Team.
Fletcher started all 59 games in center field last season, and led the team with 39 runs on 57 hits and seven home runs. The Decatur, Ala., native was named Conference USA Co-Newcomer of the Year, and was also selected to the All-C-USA Second Team.
McGrath tallied a UAB single-season record 14 home runs during her sophomore season, and batted .311 with a team best 41 RBI on 51 hits. The Tampa, Fla., native also recorded 11 multiple-hit games and nine multiple-RBI games in 2012. McGrath was named to the All-C-USA Second Team and the C-USA All-Tournament Team.
The Blazers will open the 2013 season in Honolulu, Hawaii at the 2013 Oceanic Time Warner Cable Paradise Classic. UAB will first take on Washington on Thursday, Feb. 7, with the game slated for 3 p.m. HT.
Preseason Poll (1st place votes)
1. Tulsa (6)
2. Houston (1)
6. East Carolina (1)
7. Memphis (1)
8. Southern Miss
2013 All-Conference USA Preseason Softball Team
P Lacey Middlebrooks, Tulsa, Sr., Wake Village, Texas
P Mackenzie Audas, UCF, So., Plant City, Fla.
C Haley Outon, Houston, Jr., Pflugerville, Texas
IF Samantha Cobb, Tulsa, Sr., Garland, Texas
IF Jill Barrett, Tulsa, Jr., Greenwood, Ark.
IF Holly Anderson, Houston, Sr., Dickinson, Texas
IF Laura Curtis, Memphis, Sr., Chattanooga, Tenn.
IF Farrah Sullivan, UCF, So., Waynesboro, Miss.
IF Jazmine Valle, Marshall, Sr., Lake Elsinore, Calif.
OF Caitlin Everett, Tulsa, Sr., Forney, Texas
OF Whitney Fletcher, UAB, Sr., Decatur, Ala.
OF Jill Jelnick, East Carolina, Jr., Aliso Viejo, Calif.
OF Kahley Novak, UCF, So., Clermont, Fla.
UT Kristen McGrath, UAB, Jr., Tampa, Fla.
DP Reina Gaber, Houston, Sr., Whittier, Calif.
Preseason Player of the Year
Haley Outon, Houston, Jr.
Preseason Pitcher of the Year
Lacey Middlebrooks, Tulsa, Sr.