WALNUT CREEK, Calif. — Arizona State has been chosen as the favorite to win this year’s Pac-10 baseball title, according to a vote of the league’s coaches.
The Sun Devils received three of 10 first-place votes, earning 69 points overall. UCLA also received three first-place votes and 67 total points for the No. 2 spot, while Stanford was picked third with one first-place vote, totaling 64 points. Rounding out the top five was Oregon State, which nabbed two first-place votes and 58 points overall, and Arizona grabbed the final first-place vote for a total 56 points.
Arizona State, which features the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation, returns two All-Americans in junior RHP/UTL Mike Leake and junior OF Jason Kipnis. Last season, the Sun Devils finished atop the Conference with a 16-8 Pac-10 record (49-13 overall). Led by three-time Pac-10 Coach of the Year Pat Murphy, Arizona State made its ninth consecutive postseason appearance in 2008, ending its season in the Tempe Super Regional to eventual national champion Fresno State.
Joining ASU in the postseason last year was Arizona, California, College World Series participant Stanford and UCLA. The 2008 season marked the 12th straight season the Pac-10 had qualified at least four of its nine teams for the NCAA Tournament. The Conference has also produced a CWS participant each year since 1997 and the Cardinal’s trip marked the 58th year that the Pac-10 has sent at least one team to Omaha.
The 2009 Conference baseball season gets underway Friday, Mar. 20, when Arizona State hosts instate rival Arizona in Tempe.
Results of the poll are as follows. Nine points are awarded for the first-place vote, eight points for a second-place vote, and so on. Coaches are not allowed to vote for their own team.
School (First Place Votes) Points
1. Arizona State (3) 69
2. UCLA (3) 67
3. Stanford (1) 64
4. Oregon State (2) 58
5. Arizona (1) 56
6. California 42
7. USC 38
8. Washington State 24
9. Washington 23
10. Oregon 9