Jan. 25, 2001
CHICAGO - Outfielder Cliffanie Engram and shortstop Candice Hithe of the UAB softball team were named to the Conference USA Preseason All-League Team today, in a vote by the league's eight head coaches.
Engram, a sophomore from Pelham, Ala., earned First Team All-Conference USA honors and was also named to C-USA's All-Freshman team in 2000. Last season, she lead the team in hits (54), triples (3), home runs (3), stolen bases (13) and posted the team's highest batting average (.297) and slugging percentage (.429).
Hithe, a sophomore from Daphne, Ala., was named to C-USA's All-Freshman Team last season. She started all 61 games for the Blazers in 2000 and posted a .938 fielding percentage. Hithe was also named to the C-USA Commissioner's Honor Roll in 2000.
As a team, UAB was picked to finish fifth in the Conference. Last season, UAB posted a 23-38 record overall and recorded a 6-12 mark in C-USA play. The Blazers return 13 letterwinners from last year's squad, including eight starters and three pitchers.
DePaul (40-22, 14-1 in 2000) was picked to win the C-USA Softball Championship. Last season, the Blue Demons made their second consecutive appearance in the Women's College World Series. DePaul is ranked 10th in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Preseason Top 25 poll. South Florida was picked to finish second, Southern Miss, who ranks 21st in the preseason poll, was voted third, Louisville fourth, Houston sixth, Charlotte seventh and Saint Louis eighth.
UAB will open the season at George Ward Park Field #6 with a doubleheader against in-state rival Troy State Feb. 10 at 1 p.m.