NASHVILLE, Tenn. - 1/24/2005 - Union University has won the TranSouth Athletic Conference regular season softball title for the last six seasons and the TranSouth coaches voted the Bulldogs as the favorite to make that seven consecutive titles. Former TranSouth member Lipscomb University won the first two TranSouth titles in 1997 and 1998, but since then the regular season title has belonged to Union. Union owns four of the eight TranSouth tournament titles as well.
The NAIA Softball Preseason Poll is scheduled to be released on February 16, 2005. Check www.naia.org for the results.
As voted on by the TranSouth coaches, Union University was first with all five first place votes. Union finished 2004 with a 45-16 record, a 14-6 conference record and a No. 9 NAIA National Ranking. Union advanced to the NAIA Softball World Series for the fourth consecutive season and fifth time in six seasons. Union returns junior pitcher and first team all-conference pitcher Mary Kosco and Allison Shein who was a first team all-conference performer after finishing with the third best batting average in the conference.
Martin Methodist College follows Union as the No. 2 team in the preseason ranking. The Redhawks return a solid core from a team that produced the best season in school history. Becky Hodges and Rachael Phillips return from a team that finished 2004 with a 39-18 overall record, 12-8 conference record and the No. 23 ranking in the final NAIA Poll. The team advanced to the NAIA Region XI Tournament for the third consecutive year.
Freed-Hardeman University comes in as No. 3 after proving to be a serious contender last season. The Lions finished 2004 with a 25-16 overall record and 8-12 conference mark. The Lions return all-conference performers Cassie Smith and Marie Pickler.
Trevecca Nazarene University ranks No. 4. The Trojans finished 2004 with a 29-17 overall record, 11-9 conference record and received votes in the final NAIA National Poll. Trevecca returns Ashley McCool who shared the Co-Newcomer of the Year award and was a first team all-conference member. Trevecca will be led by first year head coach Ernie Reynolds.
Cumberland University is ranked No. 5. The Bulldogs finished 2004 with a 22-28 overall record and 2-18 conference mark. The Bulldogs gained momentum heading into the 2005 season by upsetting the No. 3 and No. 2 seeds in the 2004 TranSouth Tournament.
2005 TRANSOUTH PRESEASON SOFTBALL POLL
Rank - Team - (State) - Nickname - (First Place Votes)
1. Union University (Tenn.) Bulldogs (6)
2. Martin Methodist College (Tenn.) RedHawks
3. Freed-Hardeman University (Tenn.) Lions
4. Trevecca Nazarene University (Tenn.) Trojans
5. Cumberland University (Tenn.) Bulldogs
Phone: (731) 661-5027
Fax: (731) 661-5182