Softball Starts 2012 Season at Kajikawa Classic

This Week:
Thurs., Feb. 9    #1 Arizona State    Tempe, Ariz.    7:30 p.m. MDT
Fri. Feb. 10    #12 Washington    Tempe, Ariz.    2:00 p.m. MDT
Fri., Feb. 10    Cal Poly    Tempe, Ariz.    8:30 p.m. MDT
Sat., Feb. 11    #16 Oregon    Tempe, Ariz.    1:30 p.m. MDT
Sat. Feb. 11    #17 Texas A&M    Tempe, Ariz.    7:00 p.m. MDT

2012 SPARTANS START SEASON AT KAJIKAWA CLASSIC:  San Jose State begins the 2012 season at the Kajikawa Classic hosted by Arizona State in Tempe, Ariz.  The Spartans will play five games at the tournament, four against top-25 teams.  This is the second consecutive year San Jose State will open the season at the tournament.  The Spartans return 14 letterwinners and nine starters as well as pitcher Amanda Pridmore who redshirted the 2011 season due to a knee injury.  San Jose State also welcomes nine newcomers to the squad.

LIVE STATS:  Most games at the tournament will have live stats available with a link provided on SJSUSpartans.com.  

LIVE AUDIO:  Live audio for the Washington and Texas A&M games will be available on their respective web sites - gohuskies.com & aggieathletics.com.

ABOUT #1 ARIZONA STATE:  The defending national champions ended the 2011 season with a 60-6 overall record and a 17-4 Pac-10 record.  The Sun Devils are picked number one in both national preseason polls.  Head coach Clint Myers is in his sixth season at the school and has led the program to two national championships.  Senior Katelyn Boyd returns after leading the team with a.429 batting average last year with 82 hits, 79 runs scored and 20 stolen bases.  Pitcher Dallas Escobedo returns for her sophomore campaign after finishing 2011 with a 37-3 record and a 1.51 ERA.  She recorded 326 strikeouts and allowed just 58 runs.

ABOUT #12/14 WASHINGTON:  The Huskies finished the 2011 season with a 37-16 overall record and a 9-12 Pac-10 record.  They are picked sixth in the Pac-12 Preseason Poll.  Head coach Heather Tarr is in her eighth season at her alma mater with a 280-128-1 record.  Senior Kimi Pohlman led the team in hitting last season with a .432 batting average and is a two-time first team All-Pac-10 honoree.  

ABOUT CAL POLY:  The Mustangs finished 2011 with an 11-36 overall record and a 7-14 Big West mark  The team is picked sixth in the 2012 Big West Coaches Poll. Head coach Jenny Condon is in her eighth year at the school.  Cal Poly returns 12 letterwinners and seven starters from last year.

ABOUT #16/11 OREGON:  The Ducks finished the 2011 season with a 42-16 overall record and an 11-10 Pac-10 record.  The team was picked seventh in the Pac-12 Preseason Poll.  Head coach Mike White is in his third season at the school and led them to two Super Regional appearances.  Sophomore Courtney Ceo is the team's top returning hitter after hitting .356 last season with 64 hits and 14 stolen bases.  Pitcher Jessica Moore posted a 1.90 ERA with a 24-11 record and 244 strikeouts in 206.2 innings pitched.

ABOUT #17/15 TEXAS A&M:  The Aggies finished the 2011 season with a 44-15 overall record and a 13-5 Big 12 mark.  The team was a perfect 25-0 at home.  Head coach Jo Evans is in her 16th year at the school and has led the program to three Big 12 titles.  Natalie Villarreal returns after hitting .335 last season with a team-best 57 hits and 14 doubles.  Pitcher Melissa Dumezich returns to the circle after posting a 1.92 ERA and a 30-10 overall record with 262 strikeouts in 247.1 innings pitched.

SPARTAN HEAD COACH:  Peter Turner begins his sixth year at San Jose State with a 121-160 coaching record.  He recorded his 100th career victory with a 2-1 win over New Mexico State on May 5, 2010.

WAC PRESEASON POLL:  San Jose State was picked tied for sixth in the 2012 Western Athletic Conference Preseason Poll, as selected by a vote of the conference's head softball coaches.  Fresno State was picked in the top spot, followed closely by Hawaii then New Mexico State and Brigham Young.

2012 WAC Preseason Poll
Rank    Team (1st-place votes)    Pts

1    Fresno State (3)    44
2    Hawai'i (2)    42
3    New Mexico State (2)    37
4    Brigham Young (1)    35
5    Nevada    20
T-6.    Louisiana Tech    17
T-6.    San Jose State    17
8    Utah State    12

TOUGH START TO THE SCHEDULE:  San Jose State will be tested in the first 10 games of the season as five of the team's first 10 opponents are ranked in the top-25 of both national softball preseason polls. This weekend, the team faces defending national champion Arizona State, Washington, Oregon and Texas A&M, and next week plays California to give the team a true test.  This is one of the toughest starts to the season San Jose State has had in the 27 years of the program.

EXPERIENCE ON THE FIELD:  The 2012 team features 14 returning letterwinners including nine starters and two pitchers from last year's team.  The entire infield returns with Alex Stange at first, BranDee Garcia at second, Jacqueline Zepeda at short, Annica Wolfe at third and Jessica Garcia and Amanda Schatz splitting time behind the plate.  Breanna Lopez along with Jessica Garcia and Schatz will see time as the designated player.  In the outfield, Britney Helm returns to center, while Markesha Collins, Sadie Coenen and Stephanie Ziemann will see time.

NEWCOMERS:  The Spartans welcome nine newcomers to this year's team.  These players bring a wide-scope of experience to San Jose State.  Freshman outfielder Michelle Cox is a member of the Australian national team program.  Junior outfielder Vanessa House was a second team NFCA JC All-American outfielder at Yavapai College where she helped lead her team to the 2011 JC national championship.  Freshman pitcher Allison Lang was a two-time first team All-Sunset League honoree at Fountain Valley High School.  Freshman utility player Nicole Schultz was a two-time All-Southwest League selection for Durango High School in Las Vegas.

SJSU CAREER LEADERS:  Pitchers Amanda Pridmore and Jennifer Ames rank among the best Spartan pitchers in 10 categories.  Pridmore ranks in nine categories, while Ames is listed in three categories.  A compete list is found on page 4.

2012 WAC TOURNAMENT:  The 2012 WAC Tournament will be played May 9-12, in Las Cruces, N.M., as New Mexico State plays host.  The top six teams in the conference advance to the double elimination tournament.  

UP NEXT:  The Spartans travel to Las Vegas for the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic on February 17-19.  The team faces Utah and Ohio State on the 17th, California and UC Riverside on the 18th and Idaho State on the 19th.