SAN RAMON, Calif. — The University of California San Diego softball team has been picked to finish sixth in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Preseason Coaches' Poll, the conference announced on Monday.
UC San Diego earned 54 points to finish ahead of No. 7 Cal State East Bay and behind No. 5 Sonoma State. Cal State Monterey Bay, the 2017 regular-season champion, was picked to finish first with 96 points and six first-place votes. Chico State was second with 88 points (3) and Humboldt State was third with 78 points (2) after winning the 2017 CCAA Tournament title.
The Tritons finished sixth in last season’s final CCAA standings with a 30-22 overall record and 21-19 mark in conference play.
Head coach Patti Gerckens enters her 26th season at the helm of the UC San Diego softball program and has amassed 685 career victories. The program’s all-time leader in coaching victories, Gerckens led the Tritons to consecutive school-record 45-win seasons and appearances in the 2011 and 2012 Division II championship games. UC San Diego won its first softball national championship in 2011 and finished as national runner-up in 2012.
It was the second-consecutive all-conference honor for Maday, who finished second in the CCAA in batting average (.395), doubles (13) and stolen bases (42). A native of Napa, Maday started all 52 games in center field and became the program’s all-time single season (42) and career leader (94) in steals. She also led the Tritons in runs scored (44), RBI (37) and on-base percentage (.468).
Baker also earned all-conference honors for the second-straight season after leading UC San Diego with 66 hits, 43 runs scored and three triples. The Berthoud, Colo., native started all 52 games at either second base or the outfield and batted .355.
In addition, Baker finished second on the team and fourth in the CCAA in stolen bases (36), which was
UC San Diego was predicted to finish third in last season’s CCAA preseason poll after winning the 2016 CCAA Tournament title and advancing to the NCAA West Regional.
The Tritons begin the 2018 season this Friday, Feb. 2, at the Desert Stinger Tournament in Las Vegas, Nev. UC San Diego takes on Concordia (Ore.) and Fort Lewis College on Friday, before facing Academy of Art and Azusa Pacific on Saturday. The Tritons conclude this weekend’s action against Saint Martin’s on Sunday, Feb. 4.
2018 CCAA Softball Preseason Coaches' Poll
Cal State Monterey Bay, 96 (6)
Chico State, 88 (3)
Humboldt State, 78 (2)
Cal State San Bernardino, 72
Sonoma State, 69
UC San Diego, 54
Cal State East Bay, 53
Stanislaus State, 35
San Francisco State, 27
Cal State San Marcos, 22
Cal State Dominguez Hills, 11