STANFORD, Calif. – Stanford softball begins the 2014 season ranked 20th in the ESPN.com/USA Softball preseason poll, as announced by the Amateur Softball Association of America and USA Softball Tuesday.
The top-25 ranking accompanies the Cardinal’s No. 22 preseason ranking in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association preseason poll.
Stanford finished 39-21 and ranked No. 21/22 in the nation in 2013. The Cardinal placed fourth in the Pac-12 with a 13-11 record and was 26-10 against nonconference opponents.
Similar to the NFCA Coaches Poll, Stanford was one of six Pac-12 teams ranked in the top 25. Washington claimed the conference’s highest ranking at No. 5, followed by No. 7 Arizona State, No. 8 Oregon, No 13 UCLA, Stanford and No. 23 California. The Southeastern Conference led all conferences with eight teams ranked in the poll.
The Cardinal will play some of the nation’s best this spring, including 33 games against 17 teams that participated in 2013 NCAA Regional competition. Stanford will play 19 games against teams ranked in the ESPN/USA Softball Top 25.
Along with playing a challenging nonconference schedule, highlighted by a Feb. 23 matchup against 2013 NCAA runner-up Tennessee, the Cardinal will embark on another tough Pac-12 schedule that includes seven NCAA Tournament teams from last season.
Stanford opens the season Feb. 6 at 6 p.m. (PT) against North Carolina State at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz.