Pac-12 coaches pick UCLA as 2015 favorite

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Alyson Boyer Rode/UCLA Athletics

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SAN FRANCISCO — In a polling of the Pac-12’s baseball coaches, UCLA has been selected as the preseason favorite to win the Conference title this season. The Bruins received six of 10 possible first-place votes and 96 points. UCLA, which missed the postseason last year, advanced to the College World Series in 2013 and won the National Championship. This season UCLA returns 19 players who were members of the 2013 National Championship team, including six starting position players and all four starting pitchers from last season.  On the mound, UCLA will be led by pre-season All-Americans David Berg and James Kaprielian.

OREGON, a Conference runner-up in two of the last three seasons, came in second with 86 points and received two first-place votes. Arizona State, led by new head coach Tracy Smith, who earned National Coach of the Year honors with Indiana in 2013, finished in third-place in the poll with 82 points and two first-place votes. STANFORD, a team that advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals last year, also earned one first-place vote and finished with 77 points.

USC finished sixth in the polling, picking up 48 points, and ARIZONA’s 44 points were good for seventh. CALIFORNIA collected 40 points to nab the eighth spot in the poll, while WASHINGTON came in ninth with 37 points. WASHINGTON STATE, which picked up 26 points, was tabbed to finish 10th followed by Utah at the 11 spot with 13 points.

All 11 teams will be in action on Friday, Feb. 13 as the 2015 season begins. This year, Pac-12 Networks is set to air 109 games.

The following are the results of the preseason coaches’ poll. Ten points are awarded for a first-place vote, nine points for a second-place vote and so on. First-place votes are in parentheses. Coaches are not allowed to vote for their own teams.

2015 Pac-12 Baseball Preseason Coaches Poll

1. UCLA (6) 96

2. Oregon (2) 84    

3. Arizona State (2) 82

4. Stanford (1) 77

5. Oregon State 58

6. USC 48

7. Arizona 44

8. California 40

9. Washington 37

10. Washington State 26

11. Utah 13

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