"ISU is a tough team with a lot of great hitters," Hartgrove noted. "They can really swing it. I'm anticipating a little bit of a shootout with them since we both know each other so well from the last few years."
UVU and ISU split last year's conference meeting in Pocatello with each side winning two games in the four-game series.
The Cowgirls of OSU went 25-26 in 2012, including an 8-16 mark in the Big 12. Second team All-Big 12 performers Shelby Davis and Tamara Brown return for the Cowgirls. Davis and Brown were first and second, respectively, in batting average for OSU, hitting .310 and .303. Also back is senior pitcher Kat Espinosa, who went 15-13 with a 2.38 ERA last year.
"OSU only had eight home runs as a team last year but we know that number is deceiving as to the ability of their team," Hartgrove said. "They have a quality team that is only two years removed from regionals. It will be a tough matchup for us."
The Cowgirls defeated the Wolverines in the two programs' only other meeting, 12-0 in 2008.
Nevada begins 2013 as a member of the Mountain West Conference, having played the previous eight seasons in the WAC. The Wolfpack went 21-34 last season and have been picked to finish seventh in the MWC this year. Senior first baseman Lauren Lastrapes led Nevada in home runs (7) and RBIs (35) in 2012, and was second on the team with a .307 batting average.
"Historically, Nevada has always represented well in the WAC. They had one of their best teams ever a few seasons ago and they are another team that we don't get to see very often but we know will be very tough," Hartgrove added.
UVU has never beaten the Wolfpack, trailing 5-0 in the series.
Following the Red Desert Classic, the Wolverines spend the next weekend at another invitational. The Easton Desert Classic in Henderson, Nevada, pits UVU against Long Beach State, San Jose State, Cal, UNLV and Hawai'i.
Kellen Hiser is sports information assistant at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.
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