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UK softball picked to finish 5th in SEC

The University of Kentucky softball team has been tabbed to finish fifth overall in the Southeastern Conference in 2014 as voted on by league coaches, the conference office announced Monday morning.

This is the first year SEC coaches have voted on an overall predicted order of finish instead of a predicted order of finish by division. Kentucky was picked to finish fifth in the SEC Eastern Division last season.

Florida was predicted to win the 2014 SEC title with 10 first-place votes, followed by Tennessee with two votes and Alabama with one vote. Georgia and Kentucky round out the top five at fourth and fifth, respectively, followed by Missouri, Texas A&M, LSU, Arkansas, Auburn, South Carolina, Mississippi State and Ole Miss.

Last week, Kentucky earned its highest preseason ranking in school history coming in at No. 12 in the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division I Preseason Top 25.

The school-record preseason ranking bested the 2012 team’s No. 13 preseason ranking in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25. UK, which was not ranked in last season's preseason listing, finished the 2013 season with a school-record 41 wins en route to an appearance in an NCAA Super Regional and No. 14 final ranking. The Wildcats return 15 letter winners from that accomplished squad, including eight starters and two starting pitchers.

Kentucky will begin its 18th season on Feb. 6 in Long Beach, Calif., at the Mizuno Invitational. The Wildcats will play five games in the West Coast tournament beginning with their season opener vs. Santa Clara.