Tournament Time Signals Start Of Softball Season
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This Week in the Big West - February 3-9, 2014
Softball Release No. 1
All eight Big West schools partake in tournament play as the 2014 softball season begins in earnest this weekend. A minimum of nine games against nationally ranked opponents are on the ledger.
BIG WEST AT A GLANCE
Mustangs Begin 20th D-I Season: The Cal Poly softball program opens its 20th season at the Division I level with five games at the Arizona State-hosted Kajikawa Classic this weekend. The Mustangs face No. 8 Oregon on Friday, representing one of four games against nationally ranked competition in the first three weeks of the season.
CAL STATE FULLERTON
Titans Open With Easton Tournament: Cal State Fullerton begins the second year of the Kelly Ford era at Anderson Family Field, hosting the Easton Tournament. The Titans battle defending national champions and No. 2-ranked Oklahoma on opening day Friday. The Titans are hosting three tournaments this season, with the Judi Garman Classic and Titan Classic to follow in March.
CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE
Opening At The Kajikawa Classic: The Matadors kick off the 2014 season at the Kajikawa Classic, playing five games over three days this weekend. Cal State Northridge improved by 15 wins from the 2012 to 2013 season, and finished 25-31 overall. CSUN returns all-conference honoree Maylynn Mitchell to the fold in hopes of continuing the program’s rise.
LONG BEACH STATE
Coming From All Directions: The 49ers return several starters from the 2013 club which set single-season program records for batting average (.288), runs scored (266), RBI (237) and home runs (53). In addition, Long Beach State returns senior pitcher Erin Jones-Wesley, who has produced three straight 20-win seasons in the circle. With 64 career wins, Jones-Wesley is well within reach of entering the Big West top 10.
Challenging Start: UC Davis wastes no time taking on top flight competition at the UNLV-hosted Sportco Kick-Off Classic this weekend. The Aggies encounter No. 16 Baylor and No. 3 Washington in the final two games of the tournament, while also doing battle with Arkansas, the host Rebels and San Diego. Head coach Karen Yoder is just seven wins away from 150 for her career at UC Davis.
Desert Encounters: UC Riverside joins Cal Poly and Cal State Northridge as the three Big West representatives in this weekend’s Kajikawa Classic at Tempe, Ariz. The Highlanders begin their second campaign under head coach Linda Garza with four games, including a showdown against host No. 7 Arizona State.
UC SANTA BARBARA
Gaucho Classic I On Tap: UC Santa Barbara hosts the first of two Gaucho Classics this season, and faces a stiff test with two games against No. 11 Texas A&M this weekend. The Gauchos have recorded two straight 30-win seasons and bring back their ace pitcher, junior Shelby Wisdom, who has won 41 games in her first two collegiate seasons.
Back At It: Hawai‘i enjoyed a triumphant return to the Big West in 2013, finishing 45-13 overall and winning the conference with a 20-4 record. The Rainbow Wahine return three players who slammed double digit home runs – Leisha Li’ili’i (13), Sharla Kliebenstein (12) and Kayla Wartner (11). They also bring back Jazmine Zamora, who ranked fifth in the league with a .337 average.