The BYU softball team will begin its first season as an NCAA Division I softball team in San Jose, Calif., where it will compete in the San Jose State Early Bird Round Robin tournament. The Cougars will take the field first Friday against Sacramento State at 9 a.m. before facing host San Jose State later that day at 3 p.m. Saturday, BYU will play 12th-ranked California before taking on San Jose State again at 11 a.m.
BYU Probable Starters
Â•C -Angie Christiansen - R/R, Jr. (Utah Valley State College)
Â•1B - Mindy Hanson - R/R, Jr. (Utah Valley State College)
Â•2B - Jackie Ellis - R/R, Jr. (U. of Oregon)
Â•SS - Becca Erickson - R/R, Jr. (Dixie College)
Â•3B - Tracy Farley - R/R, Jr. (Utah Valley State College)
Â•RF - Brooke Cadiente - R/L, Fr. (Mountain View HS)
Â•CF - Liz Smith - L/R, So. (Ricks College)
Â•LF - Lindsay Hodgen - R/R, Jr. (Utah Valley State College)
Head coach Mary Kay Amicone has yet to name a starting pitcher for Friday's first game. She has three pitchers to draw from, Maryon Dewitt, Meghann Pricer and Lindsay Jones. Dewitt is a transfer from Ricks College, who pitched her way to a 50-12 record in 411 innings of work, including 21 shutouts, 368 strikeouts and a 1.02 ERA. Pricer comes to BYU from nationally ranked Arizona, where she posted a 2-0 record and a 2.91 ERA with 12 shutouts and six walks in 21.2 innings of work. Jones, an All-American from Utah Valley State College, was recently medically cleared to compete and could get the call to start as well. All three are likely to see action in this weekend's games.
Angie Christiansen, also a transfer from UVSC, will replace Cassie Martin as BYU's starting catcher. Martin, ranked third in the nation at her position by USA Today in 1998, is sidelined by recent ankle surgery and is expected to be out for 4-6 weeks.
Scouting Sacramento State
Sacramento State, a member of the Big West Conference, finished the 1999 season with a 27-26 mark, including a fifth-place 12-12 conference record. The Hornets return 14 players from last year's team, including seven starters, and welcome three transfers and five new freshmen. Sacramento State is led by coach Kathy Strahan, who has compiled a 217-165-2 record while at the helm, including NCAA Regional appearances in 1993 and 1995.
Scouting San Jose State
Host San Jose State finished out the 1999 season with a 13-47 record. The Spartans return all five of last year's pitchers but lost their three top batters. Head coach Connie Miner is 50-71 in three seasons with the Spartans and 319-325-2 in her 12-year coaching career.
California will be the team to beat this weekend, finishing last season with a 51-22 record and fourth-place national ranking. Cal begins the season ranked 12th in the preseason USA Today/NFCA poll. Coach Diane Ninemire has led the Bears to 11 NCAA Tournaments and 3 College World Series in a tough Pac-10 conference.
Preseason Mountain West Conference Coaches' Poll
BYU was picked by the coaches in the Mountain West Conference to finish last in the conference in the preseason poll released Jan. 26. In-state rival University of Utah, where BYU head coach Mary Kay Amicone played and was an assistant coach for seven years, was picked to finish first.
Preseason MWC Softball Poll
1. Utah (3) 23
2. New Mexico (2) 21
3. San Diego State (1) 18
4. UNLV 13
5. Colorado State 10
6. BYU 5
Practices are held daily at 3:30 p.m. in the Smith Fieldhouse Annex. Player or Coach Amicone interviews may be arranged in advance through Tricia Garner, BYU Athletic Media Relations, at (801) 378-8999. Additional information may be obtained through e-mailing Tricia at email@example.com or by fax at (801) 378-3520.