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No. 25 BYU to play in the DeMarini Desert Classic this week


PROVO, Utah – Following a strong opening weekend with wins over No. 13 Washington and Nebraska, No. 25 BYU softball travels to Las Vegas this weekend to play five teams in the DeMarini Desert Classic from Thursday through Saturday.

BYU Game Notes

BYU (2-2, 0-0 West Coast Conference) will play Hawai’i at 4:30 p.m. PST on Thursday before facing Texas State and Nevada in a doubleheader on Friday starting at 10 a.m. PST. The tournament will conclude with two games on Saturday against San Jose State and Northern Iowa at 10 a.m. PST and 2:30 p.m. PST, respectively.

The matchups with Hawai’i, San Jose State and Northern Iowa will be played at Eller Media Stadium, home of UNLV. Friday’s doubleheader against Texas State and Nevada will be at Stephanie Lynn Craig Park in Henderson. Live stats will be available for all games on the BYU softball schedule page.

BYU Storylines

  • At the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge, the Cougars picked up two strong wins over Nebraska (12-1) and an upset over No. 13 Washington (4-2). The two losses came against No. 1 Oklahoma (7-1) and No. 2 Auburn (3-0).
  • This is the third-straight year that BYU has participated in the DeMarini Desert Classic down in Las Vegas, hosted by UNLV. BYU went 4-1 in both 2016 and 2015. The only team BYU has faced in all three years at this tournamentis Hawai’i, who the Cougars have defeated in the past two matchups (9-1 in 2016 and 5-4 in 2015).
  • BYU entered the USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll this week at No. 25. The Cougars had not been ranked since week three in 2011 when they were also No. 25. BYU is also two out of the Softball top 25 with 17 votes.
  • In four games played, the Cougars are one of three teams in the nation that have not committed a single error. In 2016, they had six errors in the first four games, totaling 61 errors in the entire season.
  • Outfielder Rylee Jensen kicked off her college career with a bang, going 5 for 5 in her first five at bats, including a 4 for 4 performance in the 12-1 win over Nebraska. It was the best outing by a freshman in a season opener in BYU history. It also tied Jodi Norton with the best season-opening performance in BYU history by any class.
  • Senior McKenna Bull earned the first WCC Pitcher of the Week nod of 2017 this week. In her two complete games over opening weekend, she picked up two wins, including a win over then-No. 13 Washington. The reigning two-time WCC Pitcher of the Year threw seven strikeouts against Nebraska, giving up just one hit and one run in the run-rule win.

Opponents Outlook

Hawai’i (2-1, 0-0 Big West) | Thursday, Feb. 16 | 4:30 p.m. PST

  • The Warriors finished 2016 with a 24-30 record, going 8-13 in Big West play.
  • Head coach Ben Coolen is in his 28th year with the program, 26th as the head coach. He has totaled a 993-641-1 record in those 26 years. He is the third longest tenured coach at Hawai’i behind only the women’s volleyball coach and sailing coach.
  • In the series record, BYU leads 11-2, with a perfect 6-0 record at neutral sites. BYU’s Caitlyn Larsen Alldredge had four RBI to lead the team in last year’s 9-1 win over the Warriors.

Texas State (4-1, 0-0 Sun Belt) | Friday, Feb. 17 | 10 a.m. PST

  • In 2016, the Bobcats amassed a 40-22 overall record, 15-9 in Sun Belt games.They advanced to the NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional, getting a win over Samford and dropping two one-run losses to California.
  • Ricci Woodward is in her 16th year as the head coach, collecting a 556-363-1 record, 10 conference championships and six NCAA regional appearances.
  • BYU has played Texas State three times with the Bobcats have a 2-1 advantage in the overall series history.

Nevada (3-2, 0-0 MW) | Friday, Feb. 17 | 12:15 p.m. PST

  • The Wolf Pack finished 2016 with a 32-15 record, going 10-10 in the Mountain West.
  • After being an assistant on the team for the past four seasons, Josh Taylor is in his first year as the head coach.
  • BYU edges Nevada 4-3 in the overall series history with the last game coming in 2015, a 7-5 victory for the Cougars.

San Jose State (3-3, 0-0 MW) | Saturday, Feb. 18 | 10 a.m. PST

  • The Spartans tallied a 28-24 record in 2016, with a 17-7 mark in Mountain West play.
  • Head coach Peter Turner is in his 11th season with San Jose State, collecting a 258-248 career record coming into 2017.
  • The last time these two teams met, McKenna Bull threw her first career solo no-hitter in the 2016 season opener, an 8-0 run-rule victory. The Cougars lead the overall series record 8-3.

Northern Iowa (4-1, 0-0 MVC) | Saturday, Feb. 18 | 2:30 p.m. PST

  • In 2016, the Panthers had a 38-19 record, going 16-10 in the Missouri Valley Conference.
  • In his 10th season, Ryan Jacobs has a 267-209 career record as the head coach.
  • The lone game in the series history with BYU came in 2001, with the Cougars winning 7-1 in San Diego.