This week in Pac-12 softball

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• Opening Conference play, four Pac-12 softball teams swept the weekend as No. 3/3 Oregon remains the lone undefeated team in the NCAA and No. 6/5 Washington posted the No. 1 NCAA RPI. 

• The Ducks and the Huskies along with No. 11/13 Utah and No. 5/4 Arizona swept their Conference opponents this weekend. The Wildcats’ Jessie Harper earned player and freshman of the week for her helping Arizona go 5-0 with a sweep at Oregon State. Utah’s Maria Viramontes won two of the three games with a .64 ERA as Utah swept No. 10 UCLA in Los Angeles to earn pitcher of the week honors. 

• A top five matchup between Arizona and Washington highlights the week when the Huskies travel to Tucson for a three game matchup. Oregon State heads to Arizona State, Oregon is at UCLA and rivals Stanford and California meet in Berkeley. UCLA hosts home matchups between BYU and Dartmouth to finish out the week. 

• In the first NCAA RPI rankings of the year, Washington claimed the No. 1 spot with 4 Pac-12 teams in the top-10, tied for the most of any Conference. Arizona is at No. 3, Oregon is at No. 8, UCLA is at No. 10. California at No. 18 and Utah at No 20 also crack the top-25

• Oregon continues to lead the way in both the NFCA/USA Today and ESPN/USA Softball polls at No. 3. Arizona follows at No. 5/4, Washington at No. 6/5, Utah moved up at No. 11/13, UCLA is at No. 15/16, Arizona State at No. 21/24 and California received votes and is at No. 23. 

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). 

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