EUGENE, Ore. - After capturing its first ever Pac-12 title a season ago, the Oregon softball team has been picked eighth in the 2014 preseason National Fastpitch Coaches Association top-25 poll.
Oregon has reached the NCAA Tournament all four years under head coach Mike White, the 2013 Pac-12 Coach of the Year. The Ducks advanced to the Super Regionals a year ago after winning 50 games, the second most in program history.
The Ducks return 14 letterwinners off last year's record-setting team, including two pitchers and six position starters. Oregon brings back 69.8 percent of its runs scored, 73.1 percent of its RBIs, 76.3 percent of its home runs and 81.7 percent of its stolen bases from the 2013 roster.
Individually, the Ducks welcome back two NFCA All-Americans from last season in outfielder Janie Takeda and catcher/designated player Alexa Peterson. Oregon also loses two All-Americans in pitcher Jessica Moore and infielder Kaylan Howard.
The USA Today/NFCA preseason poll features six Pac-12 teams, with Washington checking in at third and Arizona State at seventh. Below the Ducks are UCLA at No. 16, Stanford at No. 22 and California at No. 24.
In non-conference play this season, the Ducks will meet No. 17 ranked LSU at the Mary Nutter Classic (Cathedral City, Calif.) on Feb. 21 and No. 4 Florida on Feb. 22 at the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic (Orlando, Fla.).
Arizona and Oregon State are receiving votes. Non-conference foes also receiving votes are Notre Dame, Auburn, N.C. State and BYU.
Oregon is currently practicing in preparation for its Feb. 7 season-opener against Cal Poly at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz.