This week in Pac-12 softball
RACE TO WRIGHT’S RECORD: Odds are Arizona head coach Mike Candrea will break Margie Wright’s NCAA record as the all-time leader in career victories at some point this season. Margie Wright won 1,457 games from 1980-2012 coaching for Illinois State and Fresno State. Candrea’s 1,439 career victories are 18 shy of Wright’s mark. However, Candrea will likely not be the only one to get there. Michigan’s Carol Hutchins holds 1,444 career victories, five more than Candrea.
BERG TAPPED FOR JWNT: Oregon State head softball coach Laura Berg has been selected as the head coach for the 2017 USA Softball Junior Women’s National Team, the Amateur Softball Association of America and USA Softball announced on March 2. Berg, USA Softball’s only four-time Olympian and fourth-year skipper of the Beaver softball team, will lead the USA Softball JWNT at the World Baseball Softball Confederation Junior Women’s World Championship, slated to be held in Clearwater, Fla. in July of 2017.
BATTING PROWESS: Four Conference teams rank in the top-15 in batting average, and no other league has more. Oregon State paces the league at .393 and ranks fourth nationally. Arizona State ranks eighth at .374, Oregon lands at No. 12 at .365 and Washington ranks No. 14 at .364.
SENIOR CLASS AWARD CANDIDATES: Seniors Allexis Bennett of UCLA and Kayla Bonstrom of STANFORD are two of the 30 candidates for the 2016 Senior CLASS Award. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition.
PREVIEWING THE WEEKEND: Three teams are off to the Judi Garman Classic hosted by Cal State Fullerton in Arizona State, California and Oregon State where they will face competition from across the country. Home this weekend include Arizona, who hosts the Wildcat Classic, Washington who hosts the Husky Classic and UCLA who hosts the Stacy Winsberg Tournament, before matching up against #2 Michigan on Wednesday.
IN THE RANKINGS: Eight league team make appearances in the national polls this week, with six teams ranking in the top 25. OREGON ranks seventh and eighth in the USA Today/NFCA Division I poll and ESPN.com/USA Softball polls. WASHINGTON ranks No. 8 and No. 7 respectively, while UCLA is No. 13 and No. 15. ARIZONA comes into the polling at No. 15/18, ARIZONA STATE at No. 19/17 and OREGON STATE at No. 22. CALIFORNIA receives votes in both polls, while UTAH is receiving votes in the ESPN/USA Softball poll.