RUSSELLVILLE, ARK. (ECU) - After finished the 2014 season tied for fifth, the East Central University softball team has been picked to finish third in the Great American Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll.
The Tigers, who finished 33-25 overall and 22-18 in league action a season ago, received a total of 79 points, with one first-place vote. The 2014 regular-season champs, Southeastern Oklahoma State were picked to finish first in 2015, earning 97 points and seven first-place votes. Southern Arkansas was the other team to finish above ECU, earning 85 points and two first-place votes.
Henderson State was picked fourth (71 points/1 first-place votes), Harding fifth (66), Northwestern Oklahoma State sixth (52), Arkansas-Monticello seventh (47), Arkansas Tech eighth (44), Southern Nazarene ninth (24), Southwestern Oklahoma State 10th (21) and Ouachita Baptist 11th (19).
The Tigers return 14 letter winners and seven starters from last season and have seven new faces on the team. ECU will open the 2015 season at the NFCA DII Leadoff Classic in Tucson, Ariz., Feb. 6-8. The Tigers will face some of the best teams in the country at the event, including the 2014 NCAA DII National Champion West Texas A&M in the first game of the tournament (Feb. 6).