Feb. 3, 2014
DAVIS, Calif. – Even though six position starters, two starting pitchers and both All-Big West selections return for UC Davis in 2014, the Aggies received a fifth-place result in this season’s preseason coaches poll as released by the Big West Conference on Monday.
Seventeen letterwinners from last year’s roster, one that finished the season in sixth place with a 25-27 overall and 11-13 league record, return for a team that garnered 30 points–enough to finish fifth in the league’s annual preseason listing.
Hawai’i, the defending conference champion, narrowly captured first place by finishing with 59 points and four first-place votes, four more points than second-place Long Beach State who received 55 in addition to its three first-place votes. Cal State Fullerton, a team the Aggies defeated in two of three matchups last year, rounded out the top three with its 46-point total and one first-place vote.
UC Santa Barbara finished fourth with 40 points, followed by UC Davis and its 30 points; Cal Poly, Cal State Northridge and UC Riverside completed the list in sixth, seventh and eighth place with their respective totals of 25, 24 and nine points.
Led by junior pitcher Justine Vela, a two-time All-Big West Team recipient, and sophomore shortstop Christa Castello who also earned all-conference recognition as a freshman, UC Davis will open its season on Friday, Feb. 7, at the UNLV Sportco Kick-Off Classic. Taking place in Las Vegas, the Aggies will face Arkansas (3:45 p.m.) and tournament host UNLV (8:15 p.m.) in its inaugural day of competition.