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COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The Texas A&M softball team starts the 2012 season with a pair of top-20 rankings in national preseason polls, released today.

The Aggies earned the No. 15 spot in the Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll and are ranked No. 17 in the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division I Top 25 Preseason Poll.

A&M will kick off the 2012 season on Feb. 10 in a pair of games at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz. The Aggies will face 13 top-25 opponents this season, including top five picks No. 2/4 Florida, No. 4/3 California, No. 5/6 Oklahoma and No. 6/5 Missouri.

No. 7/7 Baylor, No. 8/8 Arizona and No. 9/10 Stanford were also among the Aggies' 2012 opponents in the top 10. Also among A&M's opponents on the list were No. 11/16 Oklahoma State, No. 12/14 Washington, No. 18/19 Texas, No. 20/22 Houston, No. 21/20 Nebraska and No. 24 Tulsa.

The Aggies finished the 2011 season with a No. 14 NFCA national ranking after a fourth-ever trip to the NCAA Super Regional, falling to eventual national champion Arizona State. The Sun Devils were picked first in both preseason polls.

A&M returns 14 letterwinners and eight starters to the diamond and welcomes six newcomers, including five freshmen. All-Americans Mel Dumezich and Meagan May enter their junior seasons with the Aggies, while two-time Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year Natalie Villarreal returns as a senior.

The Aggies hosted and swept the 2011 NCAA College Station Regional before traveling to Tempe for the NCAA Super Regional round. A&M ended the season with a 44-15 record - the team's seventh 40-win season with head coach Jo Evans at the helm. 

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