RENO, Nev. – The Nevada softball team is pegged for sixth place in the Mountain West softball preseason coaches poll released by the league on Tuesday.
San Diego State received seven first-place votes and was picked to win, followed by Fresno State, which received the other two top votes. After that, four teams are crowded into a group separated by just six points in the preseason poll, as Boise State was picked third, Colorado State and San José State were picked fourth and Nevada was tabbed for sixth. UNLV, New Mexico and Utah State were the bottom three in the poll.
“The release of the preseason poll means the start of the softball season and we are excited to get out on the field and start the 2014 campaign in an effort to win a Mountain West Championship,” sixth-year coach Matt Meuchel said. “It’s going to be a very competitive Mountain West softball season.”
Nevada returns 17 letterwinners from the 2013 team that went 30-23 overall and 9-9 in its first Mountain West season. The Wolf Pack has six returning starters in the lineup and returns four pitchers, with four newcomers to the program.
Meuchel has a talented senior class that includes infielders Karley Hopkins (.392, 45 runs, two home runs, 34 RBI in 2013) and Erin Jones (.340/21/5/32), outfielder Sara Parsons (.317/38/6/41) and pitcher Karlyn Jones (17-10, 3.45 ERA, 134 strikeouts).
Also returning are junior catcher Ashley Butera (.259/15/7/30) and sophomore infielders Jasmine Jenkins (.361/23/2/26) and Megan Sweet (.32141/6/29). Junior pitcher Megan Dortch also returns after going 10-11 with a 4.03 ERA and 89 strikeouts last season.
Erin Jones, Parsons and Jenkins were recently selected to the College Sports Madness Preseason All-MW first team while Hopkins, Sweet and Karlyn Jones were named to the second team.
Nevada opens the 2014 season on Friday as it travels to the Red Desert Classic in St. George, Utah, the first of four tournament weekends on the road to begin the year for the Pack. The first home games at Hixson Park are slated for March 7 when Nevada hosts the first of two tournaments back-to-back, the Nevada Classic March 7-9 and the Wolf Pack Classic March 14-16.
Mountain West play opens March 21 when the Pack travels to Las Vegas to play UNLV in a three-game series that is part of the Governor’s Series presented by NVEnergy.
2014 Mountain West Preseason Coaches Poll
1. San Diego State (7) 63
2. Fresno State (2) 56
3. Boise State 42
4. Colorado State 38
4. San José State 38
6. Nevada 36
7. UNLV 27
8. New Mexico 13
9. Utah State 11