QUICKLY -- Utah State's softball team will continue its 2005 season when it competes in Arizona State's Kajikawa Tournament Friday-Sunday, Feb. 11-13... The Aggies will play five games in the three-day event... USU will meet 15th-ranked Texas and South Carolina on Friday before facing Wisconsin and Nevada on Saturday. USU will then close the tournament with a game against tournament host Arizona State on Sunday... USU is 2-3 under its first year head coach Lonny Sargent... The Aggies return 10 letterwinners from last year's 10-41 team, which went 6-15 in the Big West and finished seventh in the conference... The tournament is the second of three tournaments USU will play in this season.
USU VS. THE FIELD -- USU is meeting Texas for the first time at this tournament... USU is 5-1 all-time against South Carolina, last playing them in 1997... USU is 0-3 all-time against Wisconsin, last playing them in 2002... USU is 11-7 all-time against Nevada, losing three games last season, 9-1, 4-3, 11-1... USU is 10-22 all-time against Arizona State losing two games last season, 7-6 and 24- in the most lopsided loss of the season.
TEXAS PREVIEW -- Texas began the season ranked 15th in the USA Today/NFCA poll and has been living up to the hype. The Longhorns swept a three-game series with Houton last weekend, recording two shutouts and a pair of one-hitters. Tina Boutelle is the Longhorns' leading hitter, with a .444 average, a double and two RBI. As a team, Texas is hitting .308, while its pitchers are holding opponents to a .101 average. Pitcher Cat Osterman, who was the 2003 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year and 2004 U.S. Olympian, was one of 40 players named to the initial watch list for the the Amateur Softball Association's (ASA) fourth-annual USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award. She is starting the year off strong with a 1.17 ERA.
SOUTH CAROLINA PREVIEW -- South Carolina is 5-1 after sweeping a double-header with Charlotte on Tuesday. The Gamecocks are led by the powerful bat of Megan Cornett who owns a .579 batting average, with 11 hits, two doubles, a triple and four RBI on the season. As a team, the Gamecocks are hitting .337 while their pitchers are holding opponents to a .145 average.
WISCONSIN PREVIEW -- Wisconsin is opening its season at the Kajkawa Tournament. They finished the 2004 season with a 29-28 record, hitting .246 as a team and allowing their opponents to hit .270.
NEVADA PREVIEW -- Nevada is 1-5 after beating Cal Poly 2-1 on the road. Candace Rainwater leads the Wolfpack with a .294 batting average, with five hits, two doubles, an RBI, and a home run. The team is hitting .168 and opponents are swatting .219.
ARIZONA STATE PREVIEW -- Tournament host Arizona State is 3-0 on the season sweeping a three-game series against Texas-San Antonio. Two Sun Devils, Mindy Cowles and Valerie Sevilla, are hitting .500 this season with five doubles, eight RBI, and four home runs between them. The team is hitting an impressive .354 while holding opponents to .208
TEAM NOTES -- Returning sophomore Sara Fleming was on fire last weekend hitting .294 with five hits, one double and two home runs including a grand slam against UNLV... Senior Michell Vlahos is hitting .272 and hit the first home run of her career against UNLV. Jessica Garnett owns a .333 batting average this season... Garnett was unstoppable against UTEP going 3-4 at the plate... Leslie Higley (1-0) has a 1.69 ERA and pitched her first complete game of the season against Indiana, winning the game 2-1... USU has hit three homeruns while not allowing a home run.
RANKED OPPONENTS -- Three Utah State opponents are ranked in the top 25 of the USA TODAY/NFCA poll. UCLA begins the season ranked 2nd in the nation. The Bruins have won two consective national championships and hope to defend the title this year. 15th-ranked Texas is expected to win the Big 12 conference championship. The teams will play each other for the first time in school history this year. Conference rival Long Beach State begins the season ranked 20th falling just one spot from its 2004 finish. The Aggies have a 20-36 record against the 49ers. Three other Aggie opponents, Texas A&M, Northwestern, and Arizona State received votes in the poll.
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