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Utah softball team picked 5th in Pac-12 preseason poll

Football season is over, spring football is a couple of months away, and basketball season is in the homestrech so that means the Olympic sports are really starting to get going, and the Utah softball team will be getting underway this week. The Utes have really come a long way since joining the league, earning a top 15 ranking in the country after a Sweet Sixteen appearance a year ago. They were also picked fifth in the league just a few days ago, which is no small thing since most of the league is ranked in the top 10, or even the top 5.

Utah is replacing a lot of talent off of last year’s team, specifically Hannah Flippen, who is Utah’s all-time leader in runs, hits and batting average, and won almost every award you can image in the Pac-12 over the past couple of seasons. It appears they’ve done a good job building a program up there, and I haven no doubts that the softball facility they build a couple of years ago is one of the reasons why.

For a bit more of a preview on the season, and the rest of the Pac-12 preseason picks, here’s the official press release for the Utah AD.

SAN FRANCISCO - No. 15/16 Utah Softball was selected to finish fifth in the Pac-12 Conference when the 2018 preseason coaches poll was released this afternoon.

The Utes, who finished last season with its highest national ranking ever (No. 14), bring back a pair of All-Pac-12 pitchers in Miranda Viramontes and Katie Donovan, NFCA All-Region third baseman Heather Bowen, National Player of the Year Watch List selection Alyssa Barrera and 2017 Pac-12 All-Freshmen honoree Kelly Martinez.

Oregon, UCLA and Washington all reached the College World Series last season and sit atop the Pac-12 rankings. They are also ranked Nos. 3, 4 and 5 in the nation respectively to enter 2018. No. 7 Arizona was picked fourth with the Utes fifth and No. 19 Arizona State pegged sixth. California, Oregon State and Stanford rounded out the conference’s preseason poll.

Utah opens play this weekend at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz. They open on Friday with New Mexico at 9:15 a.m. and follow with games against No. 25 Georgia, Nebraska, No. 11 Tennessee and Saint Mary’s

2018 Pac-12 Preseason Poll1. Oregon (7), 632. UCLA (2), 553. Washington, 554. Arizona 445. Utah, 346. Arizona State, 317. California, 198. Oregon State, 189. Stanford, 9”