STANFORD, Calif. – Stanford softball begins the 2014 season ranked 22nd in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association preseason poll, the organization announced Tuesday.
The Cardinal finished the 2013 season 39-21 and ranked No. 21/22 in the nation. Stanford finished fourth in the Pac-12 Conference with a 13-11 mark and was 26-10 against nonconference opponents. The Cardinal was 20-6 at Boyd and Jill Smith Family Stadium.
Stanford was one of six Pac-12 schools ranked in the preseason poll, second to only the Southeastern Conference’s eight. Washington led the way with a third-place ranking, followed by No. 7 Arizona State, No. 8 Oregon, No. 16 UCLA, Stanford and No. 24 California.
Stanford will play some of the nation’s best this spring, including 33 games against 17 teams that participated in 2013 NCAA Regional competition. The Cardinal will play 19 games against teams ranked in the preseason top 25.
Stanford will play a challenging nonconference schedule, highlighted by a Feb. 23 matchup against 2013 NCAA runner-up Tennessee at the Mary Nutter Classic in Cathedral City, Calif., before embarking on another tough Pac-12 schedule that includes seven NCAA Tournament teams from last season.
The Cardinal opens the season Feb. 6 at 6 p.m. (PT) against North Carolina State at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz.