The Utes go into this spring picked fifth in the Pac-12 preseason softball coaches poll. The conference released the poll on Monday afternoon.
Utah, coming off of a 37-16 season in 2017, finished last season with the highest national ranking ever in program history (No. 14). Utah will also begin the 2018 season ranked No. 15 in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association/USA Today national preseason poll and No. 16 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball preseason poll. Both national polls were released last week.
The Pac-12 coaches voted Oregon the favorite to win the conference this season followed by UCLA, Washington and Arizona. Utah sits in fifth ahead of Arizona State.
“I don’t worry so much about what the other teams are doing,” Utes coach Amy Hogue said Monday prior to the conference poll’s release. “As a matter of fact, I haven’t even looked where everyone else is ranked. We’ve got plenty to worry about in our own backyard. I haven’t really thought about who lost who and who added who. They’ll be time for that later before we start Pac-12 play.”
The Utes must replace five starters from last year’s team, including the Pac-12 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year Hannah Flippen.
This year’s team will be anchored by senior pitchers and all-conference honorees Miranda Viramontes and Katie Donovan. Sophomore outfielder Alyssa Barrera was one of 50 players in the country named to the USA Sotball’s Collegiate Player of the Year Watch List.
2018 Pac-12 Preseason Poll
1. Oregon (7), 63
2. UCLA (2), 55
3. Washington, 55
4. Arizona 44
5. Utah, 34
6. Arizona State, 31
7. California, 19
8. Oregon State, 18
9. Stanford, 9