January 28, 2010

Butler Picked Fourth In Horizon League Softball Poll

Butler, coming off a strong finish last season, has been picked to finish fourth in the 2010 Horizon League softball race, according to the annual preseason poll of league coaches.  Last year’s tournament champion. Cleveland State, was tabbed as the favorite, while 2009 regular season champ UIC was picked second in the poll released by the Horizon League office.

Cleveland State, which captured its first league crown since 1997, collected seven of a possible eight first place votes and 63 total points in the poll.  Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own teams.

UIC picked up one first place vote and 57 points, while Wright State earned the remaining first place vote and totaled 46 points.  Butler and Loyola both received 38 points, while Valparaiso was tabbed sixth in 37 points.  Green Bay was picked seventh (22 points), followed by Youngstown State (15 points) and Detroit (8 points).

The Bulldogs won 13 of their final 19 games a year ago, while matching the school record for wins (26) in a season.  Butler posted a 12-11 record in Horizon League play, breaking the previous school mark of 10 league victories set in 1998.  The Bulldogs set school single season records for hits (386), home runs (36) and RBIs (189) in 2009.

Head coach Jeanne Rayman, beginning her fourth season at the helm of the Bulldogs, returns seven starters from last year’s club, including All-Horizon League shortstop Bridget Paine and Butler home run record-holder Erin Falkenberry.  Rayman also has all three of her pitchers back from last season, and she’s added three more hurlers for this year.

The Bulldogs will open the 2010 regular season at the Austin Peay Classic in Clarksville, Tenn., Feb. 19-21.