With the 2020 season fast approaching, a trio of preseason rankings were released Tuesday. Alabama softball is the preseason No. 1 in USA Softball's rankings and No. 2 in the NFCA and Softball America top 25 lists.
The Crimson Tide earned 12 first-place votes in the USA Softball poll and 11 in the NFCA poll, the most of any team. The preseason rankings are Alabama's highest in those two polls since the 2013 season. The Tide finished last year ranked No. 4 in all three rankings. Last week, the Tide claimed the top spot in D1Softball's preseason poll, the inaugural set of rankings for the site.
Defending Southeastern Conference champion Alabama returns 13 players from last year's team that won 60 games, claimed the program's fifth SEC regular-season title and advanced to the final day of bracket play at the 2019 Women's College World Series. Among the returners are All-Americans Montana Fouts, Bailey Hemphill and Kaylee Tow, SEC Pitcher of the Year Sarah Cornell and All-SEC honorees Elissa Brown, Maddie Morgan and Skylar Wallace. Joining them are six newcomers, including five freshmen and graduate transfer Alexis Mack. Head Coach Patrick Murphy, who was last year's SEC Coach of the Year, returns for his 22nd season at the helm of the crimson and white.
The Crimson Tide opens its 2020 season at the Joanne Graf Classic in Tallahassee, Fla., Feb. 7-8. There, Alabama will play two games each against North Carolina and host Florida State.