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ASU baseball selected as favorite to win the Pac-12 in 2020

Arizona State Sun Devils infielder Spencer Torkelson (20) scores a run during a game between the Arizona State Sun Devils and the Stony Brook Sea Wolves at Alex Box Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on June 1, 2019. (Photo by John Korduner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Arizona State Sun Devils baseball team is the preseason favorite to win the Pac-12 in 2020, as selected by a poll of the Pac-12’s head coaches. They’re also the third-ranked program in the nation by Baseball America.

The announcement came Thursday as ASU beat out UCLA for the top spot in the Pac-12 preseason coaches poll. The Bruins won the conference title in 2019, but lost first baseman Michael Toglia, who was the 23rd overall pick by the Colorado Rockies in 2019. Similarly, ASU baseball could miss Hunter Bishop, taken 10th overall by San Francisco.

Arizona State got seven first-place votes as the favorite in the 11-team Pac-12 (Colorado does not have a baseball program). UCLA got the other four first-place votes.

ASU brings back star infielder Spencer Torkelson, outfielder Trevor Hauver, infielder Gage Workman and shortstop Alika Williams, among others.

Torkelson hit .351 last year with 23 home runs and 66 RBIs in just 57 games. He’s projected to be a top-3 selection in the 2020 MLB Draft; had him as the No. 2 prospect in the draft behind Georgia pitcher Emerson Hancock. Torkelson was a unanimous first-team preseason All-America selection.

Head coach Tracy Smith is entering his sixth season with the program, having previously coached at Indiana and Miami (Ohio).

ASU’s season gets underway on Feb. 14 with a home contest against Villanova.

Here’s the full Pac-12 coaches baseball poll:

1. Arizona State (7) — 96 points
2. UCLA (4) — 89
3. Stanford — 81
4. Arizona — 70
5. Oregon State — 66
6. Washington — 49
T7. USC — 45
T7. California — 45
9. Oregon — 35
10. Utah — 16
11. Washington State — 13

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