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AU softball team picked third in Empire 8 coaches’ preseason poll
3/18/12

ALFRED, NY - The Alfred University softball team has been picked to finish third in the Empire 8 Conference, according to the recently-released coaches’ preseason poll.

AU, coming off a 16-9 season in which they tied for fourth place in the Empire 8 with a 7-7 conference mark, is picked by coaches to finish behind Ithaca (34 points, four first place votes) and St. John Fisher (30 points, three first-place votes).

The Saxons earned 24 points in the poll, just ahead of Stevens Institute of Technology (23 points), which tied AU for fourth in the conference standings last season. Rounding out the preseason poll are Nazareth and Utica (tied for fifth, 13 points) and Elmira (seventh, 10 points).

AU is led by senior shortstop Nicole Hedrick (Albany, NY/Catholic Central), a three-time Empire 8 First Team all-star who hit .423 with 33 hits, 12 RBIs and a team-leading 27 runs scored in 2011; senior utility player Angela Netta (Rahway, NJ/Mother Seton Regional), a two-time E8 all-star (First Team 2010, Second Team last season) who batted .286 with seven extra-base hits (two homers) and 12 RBIs last year; and junior second baseman Maressa Mistretta (Shirley, NY/Longwood), an Empire 8 honorable mention pick in 2001 after batting .315 with 10 runs scored and 13 driven in.

AU is coming off a 12-game Spring Break trip to Tuscon, AZ, March 5-10, where the Saxons went 5-7. The team hosts Pitt-Bradford in a non-conference doubleheader Tuesday, March 20, at 3 p.m. at Hornell High School, and opens its Empire 8 slate with a doubleheader at 1 p.m. March 31 against visiting Nazareth.