Arizona State picked first in 2020 Pac-12 Baseball Preseason Coaches Poll
SAN FRANCISCO - In a poll of Pac-12 Baseball head coaches, ARIZONA STATE has been selected as the preseason favorite to win the Conference title for the 2020 season. This is the fourth time in program history and the first since 2010 that the Sun Devils were chosen to win the Pac-12, which was also the last time ASU clinched the Conference crown.
Arizona State, which is ranked in the top 13 in every preseason national poll, received seven first-place votes and 96 points to edge runner-up and defending league champion UCLA, which amassed 89 points and the remaining four first-place votes.
The Sun Devils are coming off their first postseason appearance since 2016 after they started last season with a 21-game win streak, the second-best start to a season in Pac-12 history, en route to a 38-19 overall record and its most wins since 2011. ASU is loaded with talent with five returning 2019 All-Conference performers, led by two-time All-American Spencer Torkelson, as well as the nation’s No. 8 ranked recruiting class. Torkelson led the Conference in home runs last spring with 23, bringing his career-total to 48, four shy of entering the league’s career top-10.
UCLA is coming off arguably the most successful regular season in program history in which it went 52-11 to set a new school-record for wins while posting the Bruins’ best winning percentage (.825) since 1924 and earning the No. 1 overall seed in the 2019 NCAA Tournament. Despite having a program-record 13 selections in the 2019 MLB Draft, UCLA returns 21 student-athletes including All-Conference outfielder Garrett Mitchell and 2019 NCBWA Stopper of the Year Holden Powell, both of whom were tabbed Collegiate Baseball First Team Preseason All-Americans. UCLA will begin the season ranked No. 8 in the USA Today Preseason Coaches poll and in the top 14 of every preseason national poll.
STANFORD was picked third in the poll with 81 points following a 2019 season in which it recorded 40-or-more victories (45-14) for the third consecutive season. David Esquer enters his third year as head coach after guiding the Cardinal to 91 wins the past two seasons, its first Pac-12 championship in 14 seasons in his debut campaign and its first NCAA Super Regionals appearance since 2014 last season. Stanford will enter 2020 at No. 15 in the USA Today Preseason Coaches poll.
ARIZONA placed fourth with 70 points and is returning 2019 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and consensus Freshman All-American catcher Austin Wells. OREGON STATE, ranked No. 25 in the USA Today Preseason Coaches poll, was voted fifth with 66 points entering its first season under head coach Mitch Canham, while WASHINGTON came in sixth with 49 points.
CALIFORNIA and USC tied for seventh with 45 points and OREGON tallied 35 points for ninth. Utah was tabbed 10th with 16 points, and WASHINGTON STATE totaled 13 points for 11th.
The 2019 Pac-12 baseball campaign begins Friday, Feb. 14 with all 11 teams competing. Pac-12 Networks will broadcast over 83 baseball games this season. For more information, including a full TV schedule, please visit www.pac-12.com.
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, eight for a third-place vote, etc. First-place votes are in parentheses. Coaches are not allowed to vote for their own teams.
2020 PAC-12 BASEBALL PRESEASON COACHES POLL
|Rank||Nomination (First Place Votes)||Points|
|1.||Arizona State (7)||96|