This week in Pac-12 softball
Pac-12 softball teams wrapped up tournament competition going a combined 35-4 this week as Conference play begins. Oregon remains the only undefeated team in the NCAA and posts a 24-0 record to take the No. 3 spot in both polls. Arizona State’s Chelsea Gonzales was tabbed Pac-12 Player of the Week after recording a .636 batting average in 11 at bats. Arizona’s Michelle Floyd recorded the ninth perfect game in Arizona history to earn Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week honors. Teammate Jessie Harper notched a team-high 11 hits in 22 at-bats for the Wildcats to earn Freshman of the Week. Seven Pac-12 teams continue to be ranked for the third consecutive week with Oregon receiving four and five first place votes in both of the polls respectively. Arizona is at No. 5/4, Washington is at No. 6 in both rankings, UCLA follows at No. 10/11, Utah is at No. 20/21, Arizona State is at No. 21/22, and California at No. 23/20. Non-conference play continues with Lehigh and Minnesota at California, Arizona faces No. 9/10 Oklahoma and Arizona at Long Beach State earlier in the week. Conference play begins when California heads to Oregon, Arizona heads to Oregon State, Utah is at UCLA and Arizona State is at Washington to end the week
• Highlighted by Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week Michelle Floyd’s perfect game, the ninth perfect game in Arizona history, the Wildcats finished the CSUN/LMU Tournament 6-0 to improve to 24-1 on the season. The 24-1 start is Arizona's best 25-game start since 2006.
• Arizona State swept a three game series against Nebraska, outscoring the Cornhuskers 28-2. In three games, the Sun Devils had a total of 28 hits, with 14 of those going for extra bases. Seniors Sashel Palacios and Chelsea Gonzales each recorded one homerun, while sophomore Fa Leilua added two. The Sun Devils combined for 25 RBI, and scored 28 run in just 14 innings of play.
• Oregon moved up in the rankings to No. 3 in both polls as the only undefeated team in the NCAA. The Ducks only allowed four runs on the weekend at their own Oregon Invitational including three out of five games ending in run-rule wins.
• UCLA went a perfect 5-0 on the weekend with a 4-0 record at the Louisville Slugger Invitational in Carson, Calif. and a 3-2 victory over Texas at home. Highlighted by freshman Bubba Nickles fourth homer of the year, the Bruins improve 21-5 on the season entering Conference play.
• No. 20 Utah Softball made it a clean sweep going 5-0 at the Outrigger Spring Fling Tournament ending with its best offensive performance since 2012, a 17-3 win over Toledo. Thirteen Utes crossed home plate in the fourth, setting a new program standard for runs in an inning. The 17 total runs were the most in a game since an 18-2 victory over Southern Utah (3/21/12), which was also the last time Utah scored 10 or more runs in an inning.
• Washington head coach Heather Tarr earned her 500th career win Friday night as the No. 8 Huskies beat No. 7 Minnesota, 3-2, in the UW's opening game of the Husky Classic. The Huskies ended the weekend with a perfect 5-0 outing.
• League teams outscored their opponents by more than double in the opening weekend, recording 308 runs while holding opponents to just 102. Seven of the nine league teams outscored their opponents by double digits this week: Arizona: 39-6; Arizona State: 37-7; California: 31-19; Oregon: 38-10; Oregon State: 12-3; UCLA: 48-2 ; Utah: 47-5
• According to FloSoftball, seven Pac-12 recruiting classes are ranked in the top 25 including Oregon bringing in the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation this year. Arizona has the third-ranked class, followed by Washington, UCLA and Arizona State with the No. 6, 8 and 12 classes. Utah brings in the 13th-ranked recruiting class and Stanford rounds out at No. 14.
• Score Big: League teams outscored their opponents by more than double in the opening weekend, recording 308 runs while holding opponents to just 102. Seven of the nine league teams outscored their opponents by double digits this week: Arizona: 39-6; Arizona State: 37-7; California: 31-19; Oregon: 38-10; Oregon State: 12-3; UCLA: 48-2 ; Utah: 47-5
• National Recognition: UCLA’s Delaney Spaulding has been named the National Field Player of the Week by College Sports Madness for her performances at the Stacy Winsberg Memorial Tournament that included multiple hits in four of her five games, and driving in a run in all five games with two home runs. The Bruins went a perfect 5-0 on the weekend.
• Poll Watching: The Pac-12 has five teams on the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll this week, and seven on the USA Today/NFCA poll. Arizona State and California joined the top 25 in the USA Softball polling, coming in at No. 21 and No. 22 respectively. UCLA continues to lead both polls at No. 6/5, Washington is at No. 8/9, Oregon is at No. 9/7, Arizona is at No. 10/11 and Utah remains at No. 16/15.
• New Faces: According to FloSoftball, seven Pac-12 recruiting classes are ranked in the top 25 including Oregon bringing in the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation this year. Arizona has the third-ranked class, followed by Washington, UCLA and Arizona State with the No. 6, 8 and 12 classes. Utah brings in the 13th-ranked recruiting class and Stanford rounds out at No. 14.
• Welcome Back to the Pac: Trisha Ford returns the Pac-12 in her first year at the helm of Arizona State’s program after spending the last four seasons at Fresno State and spending nine seasons at Stanford from 2004-2012. Hanson joins a rank of coaches that have a combined 112 years of Division I coaching experience and more than 4,000 victories with a .703 winning percentage (4,360-1,833-8).
• Preseason Awards: The Pac-12 has five teams on both the USA Today/NFCA and ESPN.com/USA Softball preseason polls. UCLA enters the season at No. 8/8, Oregon is No. 9/9, Arizona at No. 10/12, Washington No. 13/13, Utah No. 18/17. California received votes in the USA Today/NFCA ranking and tied for the 24th ranking in the ESPN/USA Softball polling. There have also been at least four league teams ranked in every preseason poll, with at least five every year since 1997. In the USA Softball poll, this marks the 12th-straight year that the Pac-12 has had at least five teams ranked in the ESPN.com/USA Softball preseason poll.
• 2017 Watch List: Nine Pac-12 athletes were named to the ‘watch list’ for the 2017 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award. Arizona leads with three athletes including Katiyana Mauga, Danielle O’Toole, and Mandie Perez. Also included on the list are Oregon’s Jenna Lilley and Nikki Udria, Washington’s Ali Aguilar, Utah’s Hannah Flippen, California’s Jazmyn Jackson, and UCLA’s Nikki Udria. Previous USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award winners include UCLA catcher Stacey Nuveman (2002), Washington pitcher Danielle Lawrie (2009 and 2010), and Stanford shortstop Ashley Hansen (2011).