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ASU Softball Ranked No. 4 in Preseason Poll

The always elite Sun Devil softball team is among the nation's highest ranked heading into the 2013 season

Pitcher Dalllas Escobedo
Pitcher Dalllas Escobedo
Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

Arizona State made it to yet another Women's College World Series in 2012, but came up just short of repeating as national champions, finishing third.

But this is a program that does not rebuild, it reloads. So despite losing key players such as shortstop Katelyn Boyd and pitcher Hillary Bach, the Sun Devils are again primed to make a run at a national championship.

The respect that the nation has for ASU became further evident on Tuesday, with the release of the USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 preseason rankings.

Arizona State checks in at No. 4 in the nation. Defending national champions Alabama claim the top spot, followed by Oklahoma and California. Oregon rounds out the top five. As noted by ASU's Media relations Department, of the 18 seasons in which the preseason rankings have existed, ASU has been in 16 of them, with eight coming in the top 10.

With All-American outfielder Alix Johnson and pitcher Dallas Escobedo leading the way for head coach Clint Myers' squad, this figures to be another thrilling year on the diamond.

ASU begins their season on February 7th against New Mexico in Tempe.

2013 USA Today/NFCA Preseason Poll
1 - Alabama
2 - Oklahoma
3 - California
4 - Arizona State
5 - Oregon
6 - Tennessee
7 - Texas
8 - Missouri
9 - Georgia
10 - LSU
11 - Louisiana Lafayette
12 - USF
13 - Arizona
14 - Florida
15 - Michigan
16 - Washington
17 - Texas A&M
18 - Louisville
19 - UCLA
20 - Hofstra
21 - Stanford
22 - North Carolina
23 - Hawai'i
24 - Baylor
25 - Florida State