Oregon softball ranked third in preseason poll

Oregon softball will start the season ranked No. 3 in the USA Today/NFCA Preseason Coaches Poll, two spots below last year’s NCAA champion, the Oklahoma Sooners.

Last season ended in a loss to Oklahoma in the Women’s College World Series as the Ducks finished 54-8 on the season.

The Ducks are returning all three starting pitchers from last year, including junior Megan Kleist, who was tied for the Pac-12 lead in shut outs. On the diamond, they only lost two starting position players to graduation, right fielder Danica Mercado and shortstop Nikki Udria.

Grad transfer DJ Sanders from Louisiana Lafayette is the likely replacement for Udria. Sanders led the NCAA in home runs in 2017 with 29.

In 55 games for the Ragin’ Cajuns, Sanders hit .388 and had 82 RBIs.

Oregon has 24 games against teams in the top 25 preseason poll, thanks to the Pac-12 having the most ranked teams in the top-25 with Washington and UCLA rounding out the top five and Arizona coming in at No. 7.

The Ducks kick off their season with a ranked matchup, facing No. 25 Georgia on Feb. 8, in the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Arizona.

Follow Maverick Pallack on Twitter @mavpallack

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Maverick Pallack

Maverick Pallack

Maverick is an associate sports editor and reporter covering football, baseball, softball, track and field, women's tennis and men's tennis. You can follow him on Twitter @mavpallack or contact him at [email protected]