UHV Softball Makes NAIA Top 20

UHV softball will start the season in a familiar place.

For the ninth straight season the University of Houston-Victoria has been recognized in the NAIA Softball Coaches’ Preseason Top 25 Poll.

The Jaguars earned a No. 18 ranking in the preseason poll released Tuesday. It is the ninth straight year for the Jaguars to be listed in the poll and eighth time for UHV to be ranked in the Top 25.

The Jaguars best preseason ranking came in the 2012 and 2013 season when they earned a No. 10 ranking. The Jaguars went on to finish ranked No. 13 in 2012 and No. 18 in 2013.

The Jaguars return nine players, including all four pitchers, from last year’s squad that compiled a 38-15 record and advanced to the finals of the NAIA Opening Round.

The Jaguars begin their fourth season under head coach Lindsey Ortiz and have been ranked in the NAIA Top 25 for 10 straight weeks finishing last season ranked No. 18.

Defending national champion Oklahoma City, who defeated the Jaguars in the NAIA Opening Round finals last season, begin the year at No. 1. The Stars earned all 19 first-place votes and 529 points in the preseason poll.

Saint Xavier (Ill.), who lost to Oklahoma City in the championship last year, opens at No. 2 with 504 points. Southeastern (Fla.) and St. Gregory’s (Okla.) follow at No. 3 and No. 4 respectively, while Williams Baptist (Ark.) rounds at the top five at No. 5.

UHV conference rival LSU-Alexandria opens the season ranked No. 22 and is the only other Red River Athletic Conference recognized in the preseason poll.

The Jaguars hold the top spot in the RRAC rankings,, followed by LSUA, Our Lady of the Lake, Southwest (N.M.), Huston-Tillotson, Langston (Okla.), Jarvis Christian and Texas College.

The Jaguars will get their first taste of action on Jan. 27-28 at the Galveston Tournament, before opening the regular season on Feb. 10-11 at the Cowtown Classic in Fort Worth.