BYU softball is traveling to Tempe, Ariz., to participate in the Kajikawa Classic on Feb. 10-12. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
No. 16 BYU softball is traveling to Tempe, Ariz., to participate in the Kajikawa Classic on Feb. 10-12, facing No. 14 Oregon, Texas Tech, Portland State, Ole Miss and No. 21 Texas A&M.
COUGAR QUICK HITS
— BYU returns four Mountain West Conference first-teamers, including senior catcher Jessica Fitu, senior pitcher Paige Affleck, senior second baseman Kristin Delahoussaye and sophomore shortstop JC Clayton. Fitu, Affleck and Delahoussaye were also all-region honorees last season while Clayton was MWC Freshman of the Year.
— BYU is 8-3 all-time in its season openers and 36-14 all-time in season-opening tournaments. The Cougars have won six-straight season openers.
— The Cougars are a combined 10-9 all-time against Kajikawa Classic opponents Oregon (2-3), Texas Tech (0-1), Portland State (3-1), Ole Miss (1-1) and Texas A&M (4-3).
OPPONENTS SERIES NOTES
The Cougars defeated Oregon in their sixth game of the season last year, blanking the eventual NCAA Regional qualifiers, 5-0. BYU’s Paige Affleck pitched a three-hit complete game, striking out eight. The Cougars scored all five of their runs in the fifth inning, including a two-RBI single by Jessica Fitu. The win broke a three-game losing streak to the Ducks dating back to 2005.
BYU has faced Texas Tech just once in program history dating back to the second year of softball at BYU in 2001. The Red Raiders eked out a 5-4 win in eight innings. Head coach Gordon Eakin has never faced Texas Tech since taking over the head job in 2003.
BYU holds the edge over Portland State thanks in most part to two wins in 2005. The Cougars defeated the Vikings by a combined score of 23-0 in two wins that year, though they did drop a 3-1 loss the same season. Like this season, BYU faced Portland State in its third game of the season in 2005, also.
Mississippi and BYU have played each other twice, eight years apart, in 2001 and 2009. The last memory for the Cougars was a bad one, as the loss to Ole Miss was the second in a five-game losing streak, the last time BYU has lost four or more in a row.
BYU and Texas A&M have the most history among teams the Cougars will face at the Kajikawa Classic. In seven contests, BYU holds a 4-3 margin, including wins in the last two games. Traveling to College Station in 2010, BYU knocked off the No. 19 Aggies by scores of 5-3 and 5-4. The Cougars scored four runs in the top of the eighth in the first game, then came back down 4-0 in the second game to get the wins. Affleck pitched all eight innings, striking out seven and giving up just one earned run in game one while Hannah Howell won the second game of her career in game two.
Seniors Paige Affleck, Caschjen Atagi, Kristin Delahoussaye and Jessica Fitu, along with junior Krista Hicks, have been chosen by their teammates as team captains for the 2011 season.
Under BYU head coach Gordon Eakin, the Cougars have compiled 23 win streaks of five games or more in the last eight seasons. In 2010, BYU matched a season-high with five such streaks, tying the 2005 Cougars. BYU set a program-high streak of 16 consecutive wins in both 2007 and 2009.
Win streaks (5 games or more)
2010 - 7, 6, 9, 9, 7
2009 - 5, 16
2008 - 6, 5, 6
2007 - 5, 5, 16
2006 - 7, 8
2005 - 9, 8, 9, 5, 5
2004 - 6
2003 - 5, 12
2002 - 7, 5, 5
2001 - 8