WALNUT CREEK, Calif. – Pac-12 coaches are predicting No. 24 California to finish seventh in the conference this season, according to the annual preseason coaches poll released Thursday. Arizona State and Washington are the expected league champions.
Cal received 16 total points, while the Sun Devils and Huskies topped the list with 60 each, though ASU received five first-place votes to Washington’s four. Oregon is third in the poll with 48 points, followed by UCLA (42), Stanford (38), Arizona (28) and Cal, and Oregon State and Utah are tied at eighth with 15 points apiece.
Last season, eight of the nine Pac-12 squads earned berths to the NCAA Tournament, reflecting the dominance of Pac-12 softball as 23 of a possible 32 national titles have been claimed by Pac-12 teams.
California head coach Diane Ninemire enters her 27th season at the helm of the Bears, compiling a 1,155-533 record. This year’s lineup includes veterans such as senior Victoria Jones and juniors Cheyenne Cordes and Danielle Henderson, who each logged 10+ homers and 30+ RBI apiece last season, as well as seven newcomers. Among the additions are a trio of pitchers in Katie Sutherland-Finch, Stephanie Trzcinski and Taylor Cotton, as well as infielders Kylie Reed, Alleah Laxamana, Taylor Garcia and Marissa Iwanylo.
In nine of the past 13 seasons, the Bears have finished higher than predicted in the preseason poll. Last season, Cal was predicted to claim the conference title but finished with a 10-14 conference record to tie for fifth. The Bears have claimed three Pac-12 (or Pac-10) titles – in 1987, 2005 and most recently, 2012.
2014 Pac-12 Softball Coaches Poll
1. Arizona State 60
3. Oregon 48
4. UCLA 42
5. Stanford 38
6. Arizona 28
7. California 18
8. Oregon State 15