Cougars named 2018 WCC softball favorites


SAN BRUNO, Calif. – BYU softball has been picked to win the West Coast Conference Championship this spring, the league announced Wednesday.

BYU, ranked No. 19 in the USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll and No. 22 in the Softball Collegiate Preseason Top 25, earned top billing for the fifth-consecutive season after collecting five of the six first-place votes and totaling a maximum 25 points in the poll. Coaches are not able to vote for their own teams.

The defending WCC Champion is coming off a 46-13 (14-1 WCC) record after capturing its 13th-consecutive postseason bid that ended at the NCAA Regional. Sixteen-year head coach Gordon Eakin returns eight starters and six All-WCC players from that squad, including reigning WCC Player of the year Caitlyn Alldredge along with reigning WCC Freshman of the Year Rylee Jensen. Alldredge and Jensen are joined on the preseason All-WCC team with senior shortstop Alexa Strid, junior catcher Libby Sugg and sophomore pitcher Arissa Paulson. Sugg was also named Wednesday to the 2018 USA Softball College Player of the Year Watch List.

Loyola Marymount and Pacific tied for second in the preseason poll with 19 points each, followed by San Diego, Saint Mary’s and Santa Clara. The Tigers earned the final first-place vote in the poll.

A total of 12 field players were selected to the preseason team due to a tie in voting.

2018 WCC Softball Preseason Poll

Team (First Place Votes)Points1. BYU (5)25T-2. Pacific (1)19T-2. Loyola Marymount194. San Diego135. Saint Mary's96. Santa Clara5

2018 All-WCC Preseason Softball Team

NameInstitutionYearPostitionPosition Players   Nikki AlexanderSaint Mary'sJr.2B/SSCaitlyn AlldredgeBYUSr.3BBrooke ChristensenLMUSr.OFEllie FisherSanta ClaraSr.OFRylee JensenBYUSo.OFSydney LahnersPacificSr.1BHailey ReedPacificSo.P/OFIrma SanchezLMUSr.CHailey SparacinoSaint Mary'sSr.UTAlexa StridBYUSr.SSLibby SuggBYUJr.CPitchers   Hannah BandimereLMUJr.RHPArissa PaulsonBYUSo.RHPMarissa YoungPacificSr.RHP