Pac-12 Softball shines in first week of season

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The Pac-12 finished the first week of the 2018 season with a 36-11 (.766) record, three of those wins came against ranked opponents. This sets the tone for the second week as ARIZONA and ARIZONA STATE host tournaments starting Wednesday, February 14.

Arizona hosts the eighth annual Hillenbrand Invitational where six teams compete for the tournament title. Arizona State hosts a tournament, the Littlewood Classic, for the second week in a row after the historic Kajikawa Classic last week. The rest of the Pac-12 teams travel to various tournaments across the nation.

The Kajikawa Classic was highlighted by stellar wins by unranked OREGON STATE over then-#24/21 Oklahoma State, 8-2, and then-#19/22 BYU, 14-9, placing the Beavers with votes received in the weekly polls.

The Pac-12 tops the NCAA statistics in six team and 11 individual categories after the first week of the season. WASHINGTON leads the nation in batting average (.481), home runs per game (3.20), scoring (14.00), slugging percentage (.932), and is tied for first in W-L percentage with OREGON, UCLA and CALIFORNIA (1.000).

Pac-12 Player of the Week Washington’s Kirstyn Thomas leads the nation in five categories with 1.00 home runs per game, 5 home runs, 16 RBIs, a 1.813 slugging percentage and 29 total bases. Her teammate and Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week Taran Alvelo is tied for first in ERA (0.00). Following in the success of the other weekly award recipients, Pac-12 Freshman of the Week UCLA’s Briana Perez is fourth in hits (11) and fifth in RBIs (11) and total bases (21).

IN THE RANKINGS: After the first week of the season, seven teams are ranked in the USA Today/NFCA poll. The Pac-12 has three teams in the top-10 with Oregon leading at No. 3, Washington is No. 4 and UCLA is No. 5. Arizona is just shy of the top-10 at No. 12, Arizona State is No. 18, Utah is No. 21, and California rounds out the Pac-12 teams at No. 23. Oregon State received votes.

Seven teams are also ranked in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll: Oregon is No. 3, UCLA is No. 4 and Washington is No. 5, all three teams staying consistent with the preseason rankings. Arizona dropped four spots to No. 11, Arizona State is No. 16, California is No. 22 and Utah is No. 24. Oregon State again received votes.

PRESEASON COACHES POLL: Oregon was voted first in the Pac-12 softball preseason coaches poll. The Ducks garnered 63 points and seven first place votes to top the polling. UCLA was second with 55 points and two first place votes, while Washington was voted third with 51 points.

RETURNING ALL-AMERICANS: Three NFCA DI All-America team members are returning for the 2018 season, including the NFCA Freshman of the Year UCLA’s P Rachel Garcia. Arizona’s INF Jessie Harper returns as a sophomore after being selected first team last year. Along with Harper, Oregon’s P Megan Kleist and UCLA’s P Garcia return from the second team.

RANKED NEWCOMERS: All nine teams appear in the top 34 of FloSoftball’s top 2018 recruiting classes. UCLA leads the league at No. 2 with five incoming freshman, followed by Oregon at No. 10, Washington at No. 14, Oregon State at No. 21 and Arizona State at No. 23. California is No. 26, Arizona is No. 32, and Stanford is No. 34.

WATCH LISTS: 13 Pac-12 student-athletes appear on the USA Softball Top 50 Collegiate Player of the Year watch list. Arizona’s OF Aleah Craighton, INF Jessie Harper, P Taylor McQuillin, and C Dejah Mulipola, Oregon’s P Maggie Balint, P Megan Kleist, OF Alexis Mack, and INF DJ Sanders, UCLA’s P Rachel Garcia and INF Kylee Perez, Utah’s OF Alyssa Barrera, Washington’s P Taran Alvelo and INF Taylor Van Zee.


UPCOMING SCHEDULE

Wednesday, Feb. 14    
UC Davis at #23/22 CALIFORNIA   2 p.m. PT
Thursday, Feb. 15    
Houston vs. #3/3 OREGON (1)   12 p.m. PT
OREGON STATE at #16/19 Louisiana   4 p.m. PT
Colorado State vs. #12/11 ARIZONA (2)   5 p.m. PT
Fordham at #5/4 UCLA   6 p.m. PT
Friday, Feb. 16    
OREGON STATE vs. Central Arkansas (3)   7:30 a.m. PT
Southern Utah vs. OREGON STATE (3)   10 a.m. PT
#4/5 WASHINGTON vs. Northern Colorado (4)   10:15 a.m. PT
#4/5 WASHINGTON vs. Wichita State (4)   12:30 p.m. PT
Troy vs. #12/11 ARIZONA (2)   3 p.m. PT
Rutgers vs. #3/3 OREGON (1)   3 p.m. PT
North Dakota vs. #18/16 ARIZONA STATE (5) Live Stream 4:30 p.m. PT
Bryant vs. #12/11 ARIZONA (2)   5 p.m. PT
Texas vs. #3/3 OREGON (1)   6 p.m. PT
Saturday, Feb. 17    
Grand Canyon at STANFORD   10 a.m. PT
Fordham vs. #23/22 CALIFORNIA (6)   10:30 a.m. PT
UAB vs. STANFORD   12:30 p.m. PT
#4/5 WASHINGTON vs. Seton Hall (4)   12:30 p.m. PT
Louisiana Tech vs. OREGON STATE (3)   12:30 p.m. PT
Loyola Marymount vs. #23/22 CALIFORNIA (6)   1 p.m. PT
Syracuse vs. #21/24 UTAH (6)   3 p.m. PT
Illinois State vs. #18/16 ARIZONA STATE (5)    
Louisiana-Monroe vs. #12/11 ARIZONA (2)   4 p.m. PT
#4/5 WASHINGTON vs. Sam Houston State (4) ESPN3 5 p.m. PT
Arkansas vs. #21/24 UTAH (6)   5:30 p.m. PT
OREGON STATE vs. #7/7 LSU (3)   5:30 p.m. PT
#15/18 Mississippi vs. #3/3 OREGON (1)   6 p.m. PT
Montana vs. #12/11 ARIZONA (2)   6 p.m. PT
Texas State vs. #18/16 ARIZONA STATE (5) Live Stream 6:15 p.m. PT
UC Santa Barbara vs. #5/4 UCLA (6)   8 p.m. PT
Sunday, Feb. 18    
#4/5 WASHINGTON vs. Wichita State (4)   8 a.m. PT
UC Riverside vs. STANFORD   9:30 a.m. PT
Cal Poly vs. #21/24 UTAH (6)   9:30 a.m. PT
OREGON STATE vs. #7/7 LSU (3)   10 a.m. PT
UC Santa Barbara vs. #23/22 CALIFORNIA (6)   10 a.m. PT
Army vs. STANFORD   12 p.m. PT
Fordham vs. #21/24 UTAH (6)   12 p.m. PT
Louisiana-Monroe vs. #12/11 ARIZONA (2)   12 p.m. PT
Cal Poly vs. #23/22 CALIFORNIA (6)   12:30 p.m. PT
San Diego vs. #18/16 ARIZONA STATE (5) Live Stream 1 p.m. PT
Syracuse vs. #5/4 UCLA (6)   5 p.m. PT
UAB vs. #5/4 UCLA (6)   7:30 p.m. PT
Monday, Feb. 19    
Loyola Marymount vs. #21/24 UTAH (6)   8:30 a.m. PT
Weber State vs. STANFORD   11 a.m. PT
UC Santa Barbara vs. #21/24 UTAH (6)   11 a.m. PT
Grand Canyon vs. #5/4 UCLA (6)   11:30 a.m. PT
#4/5 WASHINGTON vs. Lamar (4)   12 p.m. PT
UC Riverside vs. #23/22 CALIFORNIA (6)   1:30 p.m. PT
#4/5 WASHINGTON vs. Lamar (4)   2 p.m. PT

(1) - Puerto Vallarta College Challenge, Puerto Vallarta, JAL
(2) - Hillenbrand Invitational,Tucson, Ariz.
(3) - Purple and Gold Challenge, Baton Rouge, Louis.
(4) - Bearkat Softball Complex, Huntsville, Texas
(5) - Littlewood Classic, Tempe, Ariz.
(6) - Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, Palm Springs, Calif.


CONFERENCE STANDINGS (Expanded Standings)

Teams Pac-12 Record Overall Record
Oregon 0-0 6-0
Washington 0-0 5-0
UCLA 0-0 5-0
California 0-0 4-0
Arizona State 0-0 5-1
Oregon State 0-0 4-1
Arizona 0-0 4-1
Utah 0-0 2-3
Stanford 0-0 2-4