(Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah – BYU softball travels to Tempe, Arizona, for the start of the 2015 season in the Kajikawa Classic beginning Thursday.
Tempe Sports Complex
Thursday, Feb. 5 at 4:30 p.m. MST
San Jose State
Thursday, Feb. 5 at 7 p.m. MST
Friday, Feb. 6 at 11:15 a.m. MST
Friday, Feb. 6 at 2 p.m. MST
Saturday, Feb. 7 at 9:15 a.m. MST
Results will be updated daily on the BYU Athletics website. Scoring updates for the whole tournament will be available on the Arizona State website.
Coming off it's fourth-consecutive championship in its fourth-different conference, BYU softball aims for another postseason run to extend its streak of 10-straight NCAA appearances. This will be the first time since the 2011 season that the Cougars have played in the same conference two years in a row. The Cougars have taken the conference title each year since 2009. The 2015 season welcomes back six sophomore starters led by pitcher McKenna Bull and catcher Sydney Broderick. Bull broke the BYU freshman record for strikeouts in a season (206) and is 10th all-time at BYU. Broderick hit .360 with six home runs and 31 RBI in addition to stringing together a 16-game hitting streak in 2014.
The Cougars are coached by Gordon Eakin who holds a 483-223 record entering his 13th year as head coach.
Virginia looks to improve coming off a tough 2014 campaign in which the team went 8-43 (1-25 Atlantic Coast Conference). The Cavaliers return two seniors, two juniors and six sophomores while welcoming six freshmen. Returning contributors include Aimee Chapdelaine (8-36, 6.90 ERA, 91 SO) while Madison Labshere (.230 BA, 6 HR, 23 RBI) and Iyana Hughes (.256 BA, 12 RBI).
San Jose State
After a 30-24 season overall record and a 13-11 mark in Mountain West Conference play, San Jose State looks to compete with key players returning. Pitcher Allison Lang led the team with a 3.03 ERA and a 12-5 win-loss record with 56 strikeouts in 2014. Other pitchers Madison Fish and Katelyn Linford return after they went 8-6 and 9-12, respectively. Batting leaders include Jessie Hufstetler (.441, 5 HR, 44 RBI) and Sharon-Renae Estrada (.311, 4 HR, 34 RBI). Michelle Cox also had a solid season, batting .342.
The Mountain West’s New Mexico hopes to improve on a 16-36 (7-17 MW) 2014 season. The Lobos hope to show strides of growth as they bring back a host of pitching in Lauren Soles (6-8, 6.14 ERA, 42 SO), Carrie Sheehan (5-10, 7.00 ERA, 67 SO), Lisa Rodrigues (4-9, 7.38 ERA, 62 SO) and Tess McPherson (1-9, 12.44 ERA, 25 SO). Brandi Heimburg (.388, 1 HR, 15 RBI), McPherson (.375, 1 HR, 5 RBI) and Mariah Rimmer (.308, 4 HR, 34 RBI) come back to improve upon their 2014 seasons at the plate.
The Pac-12’s California was picked to finish seventh in the conference preseason poll. Following a 23-29 (4-18 Pac-12) season, the Golden Bears will try to find its stride with returning pitchers Nisa Ontiveros (9-9, 4.23 ERA, 52 SO) and Stephani Trzcinkski (8-15, 4.93 ERA, 86 SO). Key batters returning this season are Cheyenne Cordes (.401, 13 HR, 40 RBI), Kylie Reed (.352, 19 RBI), Danielle Henderson (.345, 12 HR, 37 RBI) and Breana Kostraba (.324, 5 HR, 30 RBI).
After a second-place finish in the Big West, Cal Poly looks to best its 33-19 (14-7) 2014 record. Sierra Hyland (26-8, 1.94 ERA, 263 SO) will be the mainstay from the circle while also contributing for her own cause at the plate. She batted .366 with six home runs and 36 RBI last season. Other key batters include Emily Ceccacci (.356, 21 RBI), Jillian Andersen (.318, 20 RBI) and Lauren Moreno (.273, 5 HR, 30 RBI).