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No. 4 Softball Begins 2013 season Thursday against New Mexico
Courtesy: Sun Devil Athletics
Release: 02/05/2013
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Feb. 5, 2013

ESPN on Alix Johnson | ESPNW on Dallas Escobedo | ESPNW on No. 4 Arizona State
TEMPE, Ariz. -
Arizona State University softball will begin its 2013 campaign this Thursday at 7 p.m. against New Mexico at Farrington Stadium. Fans will enjoy 27-straight home games this year via four home tournaments.

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Arizona State softball will begin the season with a preseason ranking of No. 4 in both the NFCA/USA Today poll and the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll. ASU happens to be the only team in the Top 10 of the 2013 NFCA Preseason Poll that has earned multiple NCAA titles.

ASU starts where it left off at No. 4, while the top five places from last year's final ranking remained unchanged. The Sun Devils finished 2012 with a 53-11 record. Since Clint Myers has taken over the program in 2006, ASU has begun its season with a preseason ranking in the Top 10 in six out of the last eight years.

Arizona State will face four opponents who are in the Top 25 prior to the start of the Pac-12 Conference schedule. They are: No. 22 North Carolina (March 2), No. 24 Baylor (March 3), No. 7 Texas (March 14), and No. 15 Michigan (March 15).

Fans who attend the opening weekend at the Kajikawa Classic will also get a glance at Top 25 teams in No. 13 Arizona, No. 3 California, No. 14 Florida, No. 2 Oklahoma, No. 5 Oregon and No. 21 Stanford.

Pac-12 schools made up seven of the Top 25 in the preseason poll: No. 19 UCLA (March 22-24), No. 21 Stanford (April 6-7), No. 16 Washington (April 12-14, in Tempe), No. 3 California (April 26-28, in Tempe), No. 13 Arizona (May 3-5) and No. 5 Oregon (May 9-11, in Tempe).

Preseason Looks
The Sun Devils haven't been overlooked during this preseason. ESPNW selected Alix Johnson for its 2013 Preseason All-America Softball Team, saying, "Johnson could well be the face of a championship contender this season." Read more about the outfielder here.

In an ESPN softball preview, here, Dallas Escobedo was dubbed a contender for the USA Softball Player of the Year. Holding the most postseason experience in the circle on the club,  "Escobedo is now one of the veteran voices on a Sun Devils team loaded with young power." Escobedo is 14-3 in the NCAA Tournament and returns to the field riding a 24-8 record from last year (61-11 in her career).  

USA Softball's Top 50 Watch List for the 2013 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year includes Escobedo, Johnson and Amber Freeman, who is one of just eight sophomores to make the cut. ASU is no stranger to this list, last season Katelyn Boyd made a run at the Top 3 finalist spots as a senior. From here the trio will await the Top 25 which will be announced in April. This is the second time for Escobedo to make the Watch List and a first for Johnson and Freeman. Learn more about our nominees here

Where 2012 Left Off
The 2012 season left the Sun Devils wanting more than a third-place finish in the Women's College World Series. With six starters and two pitchers returning ASU will have a strong lineup to start. As for depth on the roster, 11 newcomers will be joining the team, which makes ASU young - about 41 percent will get their first stab at playing time this year.

Despite being young, the support staff saw the addition of last years seniors in All-American Katelyn Boyd, Annie Lockwood and Christina Zambrana. Kaylyn Castillo also returns for another year, giving the 2013 roster plenty of expertise on and off the field with making it back to the WCWS title game. 

How Good Has Clint Myers Been in Tempe?
Since Clint Myers made the jump to Division I in 2006, he has quickly moved to the top of the win percentage by active coaches. After the 2012 season, Myers ranks second with a .807 win percentage in his Division I coaching career. Arizona's Mike Candrea holds the top spot with a .815 win percentage. The SEC has five coaches in the Top 10 while U of A and ASU are the only Pac-12 coaches to break into the top.

Winningest Active Coaches

1. Mike Candrea, Arizona, .815

2. Clint Myers, ASU, .807

3. Stefni Lotief, ULL, .806

4. Michael Lotief, ULL, .804

5. Patrick Murphy, Alabama, .780

6. Tim Walton, Florida, .762

7. Patty Gasso, Oklahoma, .757

8. Ehren Earleywine, Missouri, .750

9. Ralph Weekly, Tennessee, .749

10. Lu Harris-Champer, Georgia, .745

    Carol Hutchins, Michigan, .745

 

Looking into the past seven seasons with Clint Myers, the Sun Devil coach has had a tremendous win/loss percentage. Coming in at number three, ASU ranks above all Pac-12 schools for win percentage in the time that Clint Myers took over the Sun Devils.

 

W/L Percentage Since 2006

1. Alabama, .847

2. Michigan, .826

3. Arizona State, .807

4. Florida, .803

5. Tennessee, .793

6. ULL, .786

7. Oklahoma, .766

8. UCLA, .759

9. UMass, .741

10. Arizona, .736

11. Georgia, .734

12. Texas, .728

13. Missouri, .727

14. Texas A&M, .723

15. LSU, .721

16. Stanford, .710

17. California, .701

 

ASU happens to be the only team in the Top 10 of the 2013 NFCA Preseason Poll that has earned multiple NCAA titles. In eight season ranked in the Top 10, the Sun Devils have stayed in the Top 10 by the final poll.

Here is a look at the NFCA Preseason Polls and Final Rankings for ASU since 1995.

Year  Preseason Final Ranking

2013        4                 -

2012        1                 4

2011       13               1*

2010       12               12

2009        2                 5

2008        3                1*

2007        5                 8

2006        6                 6

2005         -                  -

2004       20                -

2003       13               20

2002        8                 3

2001        6                 9

2000        9                t9

1999       18                7

1998       23               15

1997       25               23       

1996         -                  -

1995         -                  -

*NCAA Champions

Arizona State Sun Devils Softball
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