Beavers Kick Off 2012 Season at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe
Feb. 7, 2012
The Weekend: For the third consecutive year the Oregon State softball team opens its season with a trip to Tempe, Ariz. for the Kajikawa Classic hosted by Arizona State. The Beavers will play a total of five games in the desert, including three against squads that made the NCAA Tournament a year ago. OSU will kick things off with a pair of tests on Thursday, Feb. 9 against BYU (11:00 a.m. PST/noon MST) and Idaho State (1:30 PST/2:30 p.m. MST) followed by matchups against Georgia Tech (7:30 a.m. PST/8:30 a.m. MST) and McNeese State (12:30 p.m. PST/1:30 p.m. MST) on Friday, Feb. 10. The Beavers close out the tournament on Saturday, Feb. 11 against Nebraska at 3:30 p.m. PST/4:30 p.m. MST.
Tracking the Beavs: Live stats will be available online via Gametracker at osubeavers.com.
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Kajikawa History: Oregon State started off its 2011 season in fine fashion, winning four of five games at the Kajikawa Classic last February and not allowing a hit in its first two games as Marina Demore and Paige Hall threw a combined no-hitter in a 8-0 victory over Appalachian State (Feb. 10) and Hall backed up that performance with the third perfect game in Beaver history against Western Michigan on Feb. 11 (W, 8-0). Since 2000, OSU is 20-10 in early-season tournaments hosted by Arizona State.
Season Openers: Since joining the Pac-12 in 1987, Oregon State is 11-14 in season-opening games. Under Walker, the Beavers are 8-9 in their first game on the schedule and the program will be looking to win its inaugural contest in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2004-05. In both of those years the Beavers opened their season at the UCSB Tournament, downing Santa Clara (6-0) in 2004 and the host Gauchos (7-3) in 2005 en route to NCAA Tournament appearances at the conclusion of each campaign.
Game One - BYU: Oregon State and BYU have met 10 times previously, with the Beavers holding an 8-2 advantage. The Cougars were victorious in the teams' most recent matchup on Feb. 16, 2007 when they downed OSU in nine innings, 2-1, at the UNLV Desert Classic in Las Vegas, Nev. Prior to that loss, the Beavers had won six games in a row against BYU. The two squads faced off at least once in every season from 2001-07. BYU finished last year with a 40-18 overall record, it's seventh consecutive season with 40-plus wins, and an 11-2 conference mark en route to a first-place finish in the Mountain West and the program's eighth appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The team returns 14 players, five starters, including all-conference honorees in outfielder Carly Duckworth and third baseman Jessica Dugas. However, three-time reigning Mountain West Coach of the Year Gordon Eakin will have to replace his All-American battery of pitcher Paige Affleck (Easton, Second Team) and catcher Jessica Purcell-Fitu (Easton, Third Team), who graduated in 2011.
Game Two - Idaho State: The Bengals finished last season with a 16-32 record and a 9-11 mark in the Pacific Coast Softball Conference (PCSC). Oregon State has never lost to Idaho State in 10 previous meetings, most recently sweeping a doubleheader from the Bengals on March 27, 2010 by scores of 8-0 and 12-2. In the 10 all-time match-ups, the Beavers have outscored ISU 72-6. Idaho State's top offensive threat is catcher Terah Blackwell, who finished fifth in the PCSC last season after batting .356 with 10 home runs and 33 RBI.
Beavers-Bengals Connection: Oregon State's third softball coach in history, Ellen Margolis, came to Corvallis after starting the program at Idaho State and posting a 67-57 record there as head coach from 1976-1980. After her five-year stint in Pocatello, Idaho, Marglois served at the helm of the Beavers' fledgling program from 1981-1985, guiding the squad to a 145-76-1 record over that span. Prior to Kirk Walker taking the reigns in 1995, Margolis was Oregon State's winningest softball coach and the team's 40-17 mark in 1984 was its best mark until Walker's 1999 lineup went 47-25 and advanced to the school's first-ever NCAA postseason appearance.
Game Three - Georgia Tech: This will be the third-ever game between the Beavers and the Yellow Jackets, with the two teams splitting the previous two match-ups. Oregon State beat Georgia Tech, 4-1, on March 8, 2003 at the NIST Tournament in Sunnyvale, Calif., but dropped the most recent game, 6-0, in the last game of the Cathedral City Classic on Feb. 22, 2009. The Yellow Jackets finished last season with a 45-12 record and claimed the regular-season ACC title with an 18-2 league mark. Georgia Tech, which made it's 10th NCAA Tournament appearance in 2011, is led by reigning ACC Player of the Year and Second Team Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-American Kelsi Weseman. Last season, the shortstop batted .424 with 21 home runs, 65 RBI and 51 runs scored.
Game Four - McNeese State: Oregon State was victorious in its only other game against the Cowgirls, claiming a 4-3 win at the CS Northridge Tournament on Feb. 8, 2002. McNeese State finished last season with a record of 31-29 and a 18-12 mark in the Southland Conference, good enough for fourth place. Senior outfielder Claire Terracina is the team's leading returning offensive player after batting .293 a season ago. Meagan Bond appeared in the circle in 25 games in 2011, winning 11 games with a 2.63 ERA and 106 strikeouts. The Cowgirls are under the direction of first-year head coach Mike Smith, who came to Lake Charles, La. after spending the past eight seasons at NAIA-member California Baptist, where he won more than 40 games each season, including the 2009 NAIA National Championship.
Game Five - Nebraska: The Beavers are 3-10 all-time against Nebraska, with their most recent victory coming on Feb. 15, 2004 against the then-No. 8 Cornhuskers at the UNLV Classic in Las Vegas (1-0). Nebraska finished last season 41-14 and secured its third consecutive and 21st NCAA Tournament appearance overall. The Huskers welcome back a number of talented players, including Louisville Slugger/NFCA Third Team All-American and Second Team All-Big 12 catcher Taylor Edwards (.356, 18 HR, 67 RBI), First Team All-Big 12 honoree Ashley Hagemann (31-13, 1.75 ERA, 344 K) and Second Team All-Big 12 performer Tatum Edwards (.285, 14 HR, 42 RBI).
Cavestany Honored: Junior outfielder Lea Cavestany was selected to the College Sports Madness Preseason All-Pac-12 Second Team at the end of December. In her first two seasons donning the Orange and Black, the California native made the All-Pac-12 Second Team in 2010 and received an Honorable Mention nod last year. Cavestany's .297 career average is currently seventh all-time in Oregon State history, only 10 points behind All-American Cambria Miranda (2005-08).
Hall in the Record Books: Paige Hall has already cemented herself in the top 10 in a number of career pitching categories at Oregon State and will be looking to move up the charts in 2012. The senior is currently tied for eighth in complete-game shutouts (11) and needs five more to move into seventh place. She is also eighth in strikeouts (311) and can move into the top five with a consistent season mirroring her first three at OSU. Hall has averaged almost 104 strikeouts each season in the circle and 64 more K's will vault her over Kelly Dyer (2007-10) for fifth place in Beaver history. Heading into the season she is also tied with Dyer for ninth place at Oregon State in wins with 37. Next on the list is Ta'Tyana McElroy with 44.
Who Returns: The club returns 15 letterwinners from a year ago, the majority of its offensive production and its entire pitching staff. Junior pitcher Tina Andreana has a full season of Pac-12 experience under her belt after transferring from Western Texas College and has developed a good rapport with her battery mate, fellow junior Ally Kutz, who gained valuable experience behind the plate in 2011 after transitioning from first base. Senior Paige Hall (6-6, 2.80 ERA) and junior Marina Demore (7-6, 91 K) will continue to give Oregon State depth in the circle.
Senior Erin Guzy (.259, 36 hits) and junior Desiree Beltran (.248, 14 RBI), the team's top two offensive threats last season, started a combined 93 of 94 total games in 2011 and again look to anchor OSU's corners. Up the middle, Maggie Doremus and Nikki Chandler are both returning after forming a formidable double-play combo a season ago, starting all but seven games combined.
In the outfield, Pac-10 Honorable Mention honoree Lea Cavestany (12 2B, 17 R), senior Mary Claire Brenner (.244, 20 RBI) and 2011 Pac-10 All-Freshman Honorable Mention selection Hannah Bouska are all back for Oregon State.
What's New: The Beavers add five players to their 2012 roster, including a number of state and school-record holders. OSU's pitching staff is bolstered by the addition of freshman Aryn Feickert, who finished her prep career with over 1,200 strikeouts. Junior shortstop Elizabeth Santana, a transfer from UC Davis, batted .318 for the Aggies last season and was Big West Freshman Field Player of the Year in 2010. Second baseman Ya Garcia posted a career .408 batting average with a .512 on-base percentage from the leadoff spot at Angleo Rodriguez High School and utility-player Madison Bundy holds nine all-time school records at Anacortes High School in Washington. Freshman center fielder Dani Gilmore comes to Corvallis after setting California state records for runs (195) and RBI (228) during her high school career.
No-No & Perfect Game Deja Vu?: The Beavers had a strong start in the circle to begin last season, throwing a combined no-hitter and perfect game in the team's first two contests of 2011. In the season opener against Appalachian State, Marina Demore (4 IP, 7 K) and Paige Hall combined to toss the Beavers' first no-hitter since 2003. In the second game against Western Michigan, Hall did not allow a single baserunner in an 8-0 victory, Oregon State's third-ever perfect game.
Strength of Schedule: Another grueling schedule awaits the Beavers in 2012, as the squad will play 31 games against teams that advanced to the NCAA Division I Softball Championship a season ago, including 18 matchups against six of the national seeds. Oregon State will also have 28 games against teams that are either ranked in the top 25 or receiving votes in the USA Today/NFCA or ESPN.com/USA Softball preseason polls.
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