Jan. 26, 2010
PORTLAND, Ore. - The University of San Diego softball team has been picked to finish fourth this year in the Pacific Coast Softball Conference preseason coach's poll which was released on Monday. San Diego received 39 points by the 11 other coaches within the two divisions of the conference.
Defending Pacific Coast Softball Conference champion Portland State has been picked to defend its' title in 2010. The Vikings were a unanimous choice to win the Mountain Division, while Sacramento State was tabbed to win the Coastal Division in the inaugural year of division play.
All 12 conference head coaches voted in the poll. Each head coach predicted the order of finish in both the Coastal and Mountain Division and also chose an overall conference champion. A school receiving a first-place vote to win their division scored six points, second place was worth five points and so forth.
Portland State received 9-of-12 possible votes to win the inaugural PCSC Championship Series, as the conference will be split into two divisions for the first time this spring.
Sacramento State received nine first-place votes to win the Coastal Division and also tallied two votes to win the overall conference championship. Coastal Division-rival Loyola Marymount received the other vote to the win the PCSC title.
All schools will play a 20-game conference schedule against teams within their own division. The two division winners will meet May 14-15 in the best-of-three PCSC Championship Series at the site of the Coastal Division winner. The winner of the PCSC Championship Series will earn the conference's automatic NCAA Regional bid.
Despite losing four first-team all-conference performers from a year ago, including co-PCSC Player of the Year Jackie Heide, Portland State boasts two returning All-PCSC pitchers. Junior right-hander Nichole Latham went 16-13 with a 2.83 ERA and 145 strikeouts to earn PCSC Pitcher of the Year honors. Latham led the conference in wins, strikeouts and innings pitched (188.0).
Senior right-hander Tori Rogers was 11-6 with a 2.49 ERA in her first season with the Vikings in 2009. She was named second team All-PCSC.
The Vikings went 29-26 last season under first-year head coach Tobin Echo-Hawk, the reigning PCSC Coach of the Year. Portland State was 15-5 in the PCSC to edge second-place Sacramento State by one game. The conference title was the Vikings' second and first since 2006.
Seattle was picked to finish second behind Portland State in the Mountain Division, followed by Northern Colorado, Utah Valley, Idaho State and Weber State.
Sacramento State graduated two of the top players in PCSC history in catcher Jamie Schloredt and outfielder Izmena Cabrera. Schloredt earned PCSC Player of the Year honors in 2008 and shared the award last year with Heide. However, the Hornets return first-team All-PCSC performers in sophomore shortstop Desiree Beltran and junior right-hander Megan Schaefer.
Beltran batted a PCSC-leading .413 with seven home runs and 36 RBI en route to being named the PCSC Freshman of the Year. Schaefer posted a15-7 mark with a 2.20 ERA in 28 appearances in the circle.
Loyola Marymount was picked to finish second in the Coastal Division, followed by Saint Mary's, San Diego, Cal State Bakersfield and Santa Clara.
The 2010 season will mark the PCSC's eighth season of play. Loyola Marymount has won the most PCSC titles with three -- 2003, 2005 and 2007. Portland State won PCSC titles in 2006 and 2008, and Santa Clara (2004) and Sacramento State (2008) have also each won a conference championship.
2010 PCSC Preseason Coaches Poll
Coastal Division Pts.
Sacramento State (9) 68
Loyola Marymount (3) 53
Saint Mary's 42
San Diego 39
Cal State Bakersfield 34
Santa Clara 16
Mountain Division Pts.
Portland State (12) 72
Northern Colorado 41
Utah Valley 37
Idaho State 34
Weber State 18
(##)-Number of First Place Votes Received
Portland State (9)
Sacramento State (2)
Loyola Marymount (1)