|Softball Opens Season Thursday At Kajikawa Classic|
SAN JOSE STATE: The Spartans open the 2013 season at the Kajikawa Classic, hosted by Arizona State, in Tempe, Ariz. San Jose State's third-consecutive season opening with the tournament, they open the tournament against Portland State on Thursday, February 7, at 5:00 p.m. (MST).
HEAD COACH: Peter Turner is in his seventh year at San Jose State with a 149-188 record.
LIVE STATS: Live stats for the most of the games will be available through a link on SJSUSpartans.com.
PORTLAND STATE: Portland State finished first in the Big Sky Conference coaches' poll after coming off their second-consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament and first tournament win since 2006. The Vikings, who finished 28-25, return senior pitcher Anna Bertrand, the 2012 Pacific Coast Softball Conference Mountain Division Pitcher of the Year. The right-hander led the conference in earned run average (1.79), opposing batting average (.196), innings pitched (257.2), strikeouts (229), strikeouts looking (62) and wins (23). Sophomore shortstop Alicia Fine was named the PSCS Mountain Division Freshman of the Year after earning her team's second-highest slugging percentage (.555). Head Coach Tobin Echo-Hawk is 121-96 overall as she enters her fifth season at Portland State.
CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE: The Matadors, who finished with a 10-42 record , return their leader in hits (38), batting average (.259), and at bats (147), Madeline Sale. All-Big West second team honoree Mia Pagano will be on the mound as the Matadors' starting pitcher. A senior, Pagano led her squad with a 3.44 ERA in 189.0 innings pitched. Tairia Flowers enters her third season heading the Matadors in 2013.
NEW MEXICO: The Lobos finished the season 27-25, and return 12 letterwinners and all of their pitchers from the club that spent four weeks in the Top-25 Poll. Junior Chelsea Anaya had her team's highest batting average in 2012 with a .327. The second baseman started all 52 games last season, recording 55 hits, including seven doubles, three triples and nine home runs. Senior Kaela DeBroeck threw the most innings of all Lobo pitchers last season with 133.2 and posted the best record at 13-6 in 32 appearances and 22 starts. She led the team in strikeouts with 65, and posted a final ERA of 5.66. In her third season at New Mexico, head coach Erica Beach has a 46-51 record.
OREGON: Ranked #5 and #6 in the NFCA/USA Softball preseason national polls respectively, Oregon finished 2012 with a 45-18 record and a trip to its second-ever World Series. Seniors Jessica Moore and Samantha Pappas are the most lauded returners to the Ducks' line-up. Moore owns the UO career record for wins (73) and strikeouts (718), and its top-three season strikeout totals (256, 2012; 238, '10; 224, '11). Pappas, an outfielder, tied for the Pac-12 lead in doubles last year (17), and also stood top-10 in the league in stolen bases (second, 22-tied), total bases (fourth, 124-tied), batting (fifth, .393), hits (sixth, 70) and slugging (seventh, .697). In his four years as Oregon's head coach, Mike White has led his squad to back-to-back third-place Pac-12 finishes.
CAL POLY: The Mustangs return 12 letterwinners and eight position starters from last year's squad that finished 13-36 and seventh in the Big West standings last season. Left-handed pitcher Chloe Wurst returns for her sophomore season after finishing second in the Big West with 14 relief games. All-Big West Conference second team honoree Kim Westlund had her team's best batting average (.322), and led her team in both hits (48) and RBI (25). Head coach Jenny Condon has a 213-186 record at the helm of the Mustangs' program, and directed Cal Poly to a Big West Conference title in 2007 and 2009.
OREGON STATE: In 2012, the Beavers re-entered the national polls for the first time since 2008 after defeating 10 ranked opponents. Pac-12 All-Freshman Team honoree Dani Gilmore batted .322 with nine home runs and 33 RBI while posting a .990 fielding percentage. Elizabeth Santana, the fifth Beaver named to the Pac-12 First Team, finished the season batting a team-leading .344, and also led the team in hits (64), average (.344) and RBI (41). Laura Berg was named the Beavers' head coach in August 2012.
SPARTANS VOTED SECOND-PLACE WAC FINISH: San Jose State was picked to finish second in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC), following a vote by the conference's softball coaches. The Spartans received one point less than projected WAC title-winners, Texas State. After they were voted to finish tied for sixth in the WAC last preseason, San Jose State ended 2012 in fourth, the program's best conference finish in six years and its highest under head coach Peter Turner's tutelage.
The Spartans' starting pitcher, Pridmore is only second pitcher in school history to strikeout 200 or more batters in a season, when she recorded 201 strikeouts in 2012. Named to the All-WAC first and Tournament teams last season, she also became the San Jose State career saves leader in 2012 (10).
Cox was voted on the team after she earned a 2012 All-WAC second team spot. San Jose State's starting right fielder, Cox stole a WAC-best 26 bases, and led her team with a .366 batting average, 60 hits, and 36 runs scored.
SPARTANS SEE LITTLE TURNOVER: Alongside All-WAC Preseason Team selections Cox and Pridmore, San Jose State's lineup is bolstered by the return of 11 letterwinners, including nine starters and two pitchers.
NEWCOMERS: Eleven newcomers are on the Spartans' roster, including two redshirts and onejunior. Sacramento State transfer Devin Caldwell highlights San Jose State's newcomer list, as she joins the Spartans following her 2012 Pacific Coast Softball Conference's (PCSC) all-Coastal Division Team honorable mention.
PRIDMORE'S PLACE IN HISTORY: Starting pitcher Amanda Pridmore is listed in 10 San Jose State career lists and, in 2012, set the San Jose State saves record (10). The Modesto, Calif., native is second in strikeouts with 455 and hit batters at 33. She is fourth in wins at 44 and appearances at 116, fifth in games started at 82, innings pitched at 581.2 and strikeouts per 7 innings at 5.48, sixth in complete games with 52., and is tied for ninth in shutouts at 8.
2013 WAC TOURNAMENT: The 2013 WAC Tournament takes place in Ruston, La., May 8-11. Hosted by Louisiana Tech, the conference's top six teams advance to the double elimination tournament.
UP NEXT: The Spartans travel to Las Vegas for the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic February 14-17. They face three nationally-ranked opponents: Hawai'i on the 15th, and UCLA and California on the 16th. San Jose State opens the tournament against UNLV on the 14th, plays Utah Valley following the Hawai'i game on the 16th, and closes the tournament against Idaho State on the 17th.