BYU softball: Cougar softball begins season at the Red Desert Classic

By Jamie Morris

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 5 2013 5:22 p.m. MST

PROVO, Utah — The BYU softball team kicks off its 2013 season this weekend in the Red Desert Classic in St. George, Utah.

BYU faces Colorado State on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. MT. The Cougars are then matched up with Seattle and Nevada on Friday at 11:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., respecitively. On Saturday, BYU goes against No. 5 Tennessee at 1:30 p.m. and Idaho State at 4.

BYU plays all of its games on Field 5 of the Canyons Complex.

Cougar quick hits

The Cougars played in their last Red Desert Classic in 2010, where they went 5-0, beating San Jose State, Seattle, UC Santa Barbara, Maine and Tulsa. In the tournament, BYU outscored its opponents 41-16.

BYU is moving to its third new conference in as many years. The Cougars will join the Pacific Coast Softball Conference alongside Santa Clara, Saint Mary’s, San Diego, Utah Valley, Loyola Marymount and Cal State Bakersfield for the 2013 season.

Head coach Gordon Eakin starts his 11th season with a 416-175 (.704) record. He is currently No. 18 on the list of Division I active college softball coaches in win percentage.

The team returns All-American shortstop JC Clayton and second-team All-Conference performers Tori Almond and Katie Manuma to this year’s roster. The team also welcomes four freshmen and one transfer to the roster.

Opponent notes

Colorado State

The Rams return 17 letterwinners from last year’s team that finished the year with a 29-22 record and an 8-4 record in the Mountain West Conference. Last year, the team was led by junior pitcher Kacie McCarthy. McCarthy earned MWC Pitcher of the Year and NFCA Pacific Region accolades. Colorado State only outscored its opponents 267-260 in 2012, but were able to rely on a .294 batting average and a .949 fielding percentage to take second in the MWC. The Cougars are 28-17 overall against the Rams. In the last matchup on May 5, 2011, BYU beat CSU 18-5.

Seattle

BYU will play Seattle for just the second time in school history this season. In 2010, BYU took the 3-2 win over the Redhawks. This year, Seattle returns its best hitter, Sarah Petosa. Junior outfielder Petosa led the team with a .365 batting average, 54 hits and 20 runs. The team will look to the experience of junior Richelle Ashburn from the mound and will also welcome transfer pitcher Breonna Chrisman to the team this year.

Nevada

BYU and Nevada faced each other last season in Western Athletic Conference play, and the Cougars took all three games from the Wolfpack, outscoring them 25-4. Nevada returns 15 letterwinners from last year’s roster and will look to improve upon its record of 21-34 in its first season in the Mountain West Conference. Nevada will be led by junior Karley Hopkins, who hit .333 with 61 hits and 31 runs in 2012, and junior Sarah Parsons, who earned first-team All-WAC honors for her .368 batting average and league-high eight doubles.

No. 5 Tennessee

The Lady Vols are coming off a 52-14 season and their fifth appearance in the Women’s College World Series. Tennessee was 22-6 in conference play and took first in its division in 2012. The team is led by sisters Ivy and Ellen Renfroe, who helped the team to its seventh 50-plus win season in program history. The Renfroe sisters combined for all 52 Tennessee wins last year and sported a 1.80 and 1.24 ERA, respectively. This year the team will also welcome Anna Renfroe, the sister of Ivy and Ellen. Offensively, the Lady Vols are led by Raven Chavanne, who hit .422 alongside 79 hits and 44 runs. Co-head coaches Karen Weekly and Ralph Weekly, along with their staff, were also named NFCA Southeast Staff of the Year in 2012. BYU is 0-4 all-time against the Vols.

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