This week in Pac-12 softball

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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 1,443 career victories are 14 shy of Wright’s mark. However, Candrea will likely not be the only one to get there. Michigan’s Carol Hutchins holds 1,450 career victories, seven 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: Three Conference teams rank in the top-15 in batting average in the nation.  OREGON paces the league at .377 and ranks fourth nationally. WASHINGTON comes in at No. 6 at .374 and OREGON STATE lands at No. 15 at .356.

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: In the final week of non-conference action, ARIZONA hosts ninth-ranked James Madison in a mid-week rematch before heading to the Hillenbrand Invitational. The Sun Devils host the Louisville Slugger Invitational in Tempe, Ariz. CALIFORNIA is off to Hawai’i  to face Hawai’i, North Dakota State and Baylor. The Ducks are off to Stockton, Calif., for the Louisville Slugger Invitational. OREGON STATE heads to the Matador Classic and STANFORD plays host to Cal Poly, Tulsa and Florida State. The 14th-ranked Bruins close out tournament schedule at the Long Beach State Louisville Slugger Invitational in Lakewood. The Utes are back in action this week after winning nine of its last 11 games, and head to Orlando for the USF Spring Fling. Washington heads to Fresno Calif., for the Fresno State Tournament.

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 Softball polls. WASHINGTON ranks No. 8 and No. 7 respectively, while UCLA is No. 14 and No. 16. ARIZONA comes into the polling at No. 18/20, ARIZONA STATE at No. 21/18 and OREGON STATE at No. 24. CALIFORNIA receives votes in both polls, while UTAH is receiving votes in the ESPN/USA Softball poll.


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