Coaches Pick ASU to Win Pac-12
WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - In a polling of the Conference's softball coaches, defending national champion ARIZONA STATE was selected as the preseason favorite to win the Pac-12 title in 2012. The Sun Devils received 61 points and six first-place votes.
Arizona State welcomes 17 letterwinners, including five starters, back from a squad that captured the program's second Pac-10 title and second national championship in 2011. Sophomore pitcher Dallas Escobedo returns after a breakout first season during which she compiled a 37-3 record and became the first freshman pitcher to win the national championship game since UCLA's Heather Compton in 1990. ASU received No. 1 rankings in both the USA Today/NFCA and ESPN.com/USA Softball preseason polls.
CALIFORNIA was picked to finish second with 58 points and two first-place votes. The Golden Bears look to build on an im-pressive 2011 campaign that included a second-place Conference finish and the program's first Women's College World Series appearance since 2005.
ARIZONA received 48 points and one first-place vote for third in the poll. The Wildcats seek a return to the WCWS after missing it for only the second time in 24 years last season. Ranked eighth in the preseason polls, Arizona is the highest-ranked team not to advance to Oklahoma City in 2011.
UCLA was picked fourth with 40 points, and STANFORD was close behind in fifth with 38 points. WASHINGTON was chosen to finish sixth with 30 points, while OREGON had 26 points for seventh and OREGON STATE received 14 points for eighth. Con-ference newcomer UTAH was voted ninth with nine points.
The 2012 Pac-12 softball season kicks off on Thursday, February 9. Eight teams will participate in ASU's Kajikawa Classic that weekend while UCLA hosts the Stacy Winsberg Memorial Tournament.
Following are the results of the preseason coaches poll. Coaches are not allowed to vote for their own teams (points 8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 with first-place votes in parentheses).
|2012 Pac-12 Softball Preseason Coaches Poll|
|1. Arizona State (6)||61|
|2. California (2)||58|
|3. Arizona (1)||48|
|8. Oregon State||14|