Monday, December 31, 2012

Boise State to remain a MW member

Today, Boise State and the Mountain West made official what had been rumored for the past several weeks.

The Broncos will no longer leave the conference on July 1, 2013, as they'd originally intended.  Boise State was set to depart the Mountain West to join the Big East in football and the Big West in nearly every other sport, including softball.

With the Big East basically on life support after numerous defections, the announcement came today that Boise State will remain a Mountain West member in all sports.

In softball, this means the 2014 Mountain West season will consist of eight teams:  Boise State, Colorado State, Fresno State, Nevada, New Mexico, San Jose State, Utah State and UNLV.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Bulldogs, Broncos unveil their 2013 schedules

The entire Mountain West Conference softball slate for 2013 has now been revealed after Fresno State and Boise State became the final two teams to release their schedules.

Fresno State will face a number of firsts this season.  The Bulldogs are joining the Mountain West after nearly two decades in the Western Athletic Conference and will have a new head coach for the first time in a generation.  Legendary head coach Margie Wright concluded a tremendous, 27-year run as the Bulldogs head coach last year, and new coach Trisha Ford steps in after nine seasons as an assistant at Stanford.

Ford's Bulldogs will be looking at a different type of schedule than previous years.  There are significantly fewer home games than last season for Fresno State, and the Bulldogs will no longer be participating in two of the most demanding in-season tournaments where they've been mainstays for years -- the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic (formerly the Cathedral City Classic) and the Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton.

Fresno State will face a non-conference slate that appears, on paper at least, less demanding than previous seasons.  That's not to say it will be easy, but it's hardly the juggernaut of a slate to which Bulldog fans became accustomed with a program that has reached 30 of the past 31 NCAA Tournaments.

The concentration will definitely be California-focused as the Bulldogs have 23 non-conference games against in-state opponents, including three each against Long Beach State, St. Mary's, Cal State Northridge and the University of San Diego.  Fresno State will also play a total of 11 games against in-state rivals Sacramento State, Pacific, UC Riverside, Cal State Bakersfield, Cal Poly, UC Davis, Santa Clara and San Jose State.

The highlight of the Bulldogs' home slate comes in March when they host a very strong field at the annual Bayer CropScience Classic.  Fresno State will host defending Women's College World Series entrants California and Oregon, along with 2012 NCAA Tournament participant Oregon State, in addition to Iowa State of the Big 12 Conference, St. Mary's and fellow MW member San Diego State.

Along the way, Fresno State will play two games against SEC (and former Big 12) powerhouse Missouri at a tournament in Santa Barbara, meet former conference rival BYU (to whom it lost in last season's WAC championship game), and Pac-12 power UCLA at a tourney in San Diego.  Last season, the Bulldogs snapped a 12-year drought in their series against the Bruins with a 6-3 win over then-No. 5 ranked UCLA at the Cathedral City Classic.

In its first Mountain West season, Fresno State will host 3-game conference series versus fellow MW newcomer Nevada, Boise State and New Mexico.  The Bulldogs' road series will take them to San Diego State, Colorado State and UNLV.

While Fresno State is beginning its inaugural season in the Mountain West, Boise State will be playing its second and final year in the conference before joining the Big West for the 2014 campaign.  The Broncos, as it stands now, are set to depart the Mountain West on July 1, 2013.

Boise State also will see a drop-off in home games in 2013 compared to 2012.  The biggest change this season will be the fact the Broncos have a new home.  After playing their first four seasons of collegiate softball on a makeshift, former high school facility at Mountain Cove, Boise State will be on campus at the new Dona Larsen Park.  The park's official dedication ceremony came on August 15, 2012.

Coach Erin Thorpe's Broncos, who are hoping for their first NCAA Tournament berth, will begin the 2013 season with 22 consecutive road or neutral-site games in an unbalanced schedule.  In addition to their nine scheduled home conference games (three series), the Broncos will be at home just one other weekend.  Boise State's annual home tourney is slated for the weekend of March 15-17.

The Broncos will face a tough opening weekend, meeting Pac-12 powers Arizona State and Oregon, along with Northwestern at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe.  Boise State will be at the same San Diego tourney as Fresno State in early March, facing both BYU and UCLA.

A 3-game series against powerful Arizona in Tucson will take place for BSU in early March.  Neutral-site games against Texas Tech and Tulsa in Las Vegas will test the Broncos later that month.  Boise State will face a tough task of opening its final Mountain West campaign with six consecutive road games, playing New Mexico in Albuquerque, followed by Fresno State on the road as well.

Conversely, the Broncos have the luxury of knowing that three of their final four conference series will come at home on their newly-crafted field.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Three more MW teams release '13 slates

Colorado State, New Mexico and Mountain West newcomer Nevada became the three most recent schools to release their complete 2013 schedules.

The Rams will look forward to a slate next season that includes a pair of California tournaments, including the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, formerly known as the Cathedral City Classic.  Colorado State will also compete in the San Diego Classic II, co-hosted by San Diego State and the University of San Diego.  Marquee opponents include Georgia, Oklahoma State and Nebraska early in the season, as well as a 3-game road trip to Texas A&M in April.

The Lobos, in their 2013 schedule, will see some traditional heavyweights as well.  New Mexico opens with the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe by facing, among others, powerful Oklahoma and Arizona State, both of whom will likely be Top 10 preseason picks.  Down the road, UNM will host a 3-game series in Albuquerque against Oklahoma State, meet the likes of BYU and UCLA in a San Diego tournament, and also face both Oregon and Oregon State on a 4-game swing thru the Pacific Northwest.

The Wolf Pack debut in the Mountain West with a 2013 schedule that includes three different California tournaments, including a trip to Cathedral City.  Highlights of Nevada's upcoming slate include neutral-site games against Hawai'i, BYU, Cal, UCLA and Oregon State.  The Wolf Pack will play their first-ever softball series against a Mountain West opponent by seeing a familiar face -- former Western Athletic Conference foe Fresno State -- in late March.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Aztecs, Rebels release 2013 schedules

Defending Mountain West champion San Diego State and UNLV have become the first two schools in the conference to release their complete 2013 softball schedules.

San Diego State, as usual, plays a strong and impressive non-conference slate that will leave the Aztecs battle-tested by the time they reach MW play.  The Aztecs open the 2013 season at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, where they'll face -- among others -- Arizona and Northwestern.

In week two, SDSU hosts the annual Campbell-Cartier Classic, which includes national powers Oklahoma, Washington, Notre Dame and Kentucky.  After a Palm Springs weekend at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, the Aztecs return home to co-host San Diego Classic I, a tourney that will feature 12-time NCAA champion UCLA and BYU.

In early March, San Diego State will travel for the second straight season to play in Mountain West newcomer Fresno State's annual Bayer CropScience Classic.  There, both the Aztecs and Bulldogs will see a monster field, including a pair of 2012 Women's College World Series qualifiers -- defending Pac-12 champion California and Oregon.  Also among the teams in that tourney:  2012 NCAA entrant Oregon State, Iowa State of the Big 12 Conference, and St. Mary's.

Texas Tech and UMass dot the field as the Aztecs co-host San Diego Classic II in mid-March, and then it's off to regular-season Mountain West action in what will be San Diego State's last season in the conference.  SDSU opens MW play March 28 by hosting New Mexico.  Home series for the Aztecs include Fresno State and UNLV; away series will be at Boise State, Colorado State and Nevada.

UNLV will see a home-heavy schedule once again as the Rebels host 29 games at Eller Media Stadium.  With several neutral-site games on the slate as well, UNLV will face just 12 actual road games in a 56-game schedule.  The Rebels won't play their first true road contest until March 27 at Northern Colorado.

Highlighting the Rebels' schedule are a pair of home games against DePaul, and contests against powerful UCLA, LSU and Oregon.  Also on tap:  two home matchups versus both Tulsa and Texas Tech, along with single games against UMass, Louisville and Virginia Tech.

UNLV will open the 2013 MW regular-season against Colorado State in Fort Collins.  The Rebels' home-opening conference series will take place April 5-7 against newcomer Fresno State.  Additional home series for UNLV will come against New Mexico and Boise State; away series will be against newcomer and in-state rival Nevada, along with San Diego State.  The Aztecs and Rebels close out the regular season on the final weekend May 9-11 in San Diego.

There will be no MW postseason tournament, and the conference champion and automatic NCAA bid will go to the league's regular-season champion once again.  No conference series will include a doubleheader, with all games being single games held on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fields, times set in Cathedral City for 2013

The Cathedral City Classic, which will now be known as the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, has finalized opponents, fields and game times for 2013.

The four participating Mountain West schools -- Colorado State, Nevada, San Diego State and UNLV -- will each play five games against some of the best teams in the country Feb. 21-24.  For the first time in eight seasons, perennial power and MW newcomer Fresno State will not be in the 30+ team field at the country's most high profile tournament.

Here are the MW opponents and field assignments plus game times (all times Pacific) at the Big League Dreams complex in Cathedral City:

Colorado State
Feb. 21 - vs. Georgia, 10:30 am (Yankee)
Feb. 21 - vs. Oregon State, 6 pm (Yankee)
Feb. 22 - vs. Utah, 10:30 am (Pawtucket)
Feb. 23 - vs. Virginia, 5 pm (Des Moines)
Feb. 23 - vs. Syracuse, 7:30 pm (Des Moines)

Feb. 22 - vs. Oregon State, 12:30 pm (Des Moines)
Feb. 23 - vs. Long Island, 12:30 pm (Pawtucket)
Feb. 23 - vs. Utah, 3 pm (Pawtucket)
Feb. 24 - vs. UCLA, 11:30 am (Wrigley)
Feb. 24 - vs. UCSB, 2 pm (Pawtucket)

San Diego State
Feb. 21 - vs. Missouri, 5:30 pm (Fenway)
Feb. 21 - vs. Virginia, 8 pm (Fenway)
Feb. 22 - vs. Syracuse, 6 pm (Pawtucket)
Feb. 23 - vs. Ohio State, 12:30 pm (Yankee)
Feb. 24 - vs. Oregon, 2 pm (Wrigley)

Feb. 22 - vs. BYU, 1 pm (Pawtucket)
Feb. 22 - vs. LSU, 5:30 pm (Des Moines)
Feb. 23 - vs. Loyola Marymount, 8 pm (Pawtucket)
Feb. 24 - vs. Oregon, 11:30 am (Des Moines)
Feb. 24 - vs. Long Beach St., 2 pm (Des Moines)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

2013 Mountain West scheduling news

Bits and pieces of information regarding the 2013 Mountain West softball schedules are coming to light, with teams expected to release their full slates soon.

An early peek at 2013 sees a possible change in scheduling philosophy at Fresno State.  The Bulldogs, who have advanced to more NCAA Tournaments (31) all-time than any team in the country, faced the best of the best under legendary Coach Margie Wright, who announced her retirement in May.

When new Fresno State Coach Trisha Ford leads her team into the 2013 season, Bulldog fans will notice a decidedly different non-conference slate from previous years.  The program will not be participating in the two most prestigious tournaments it's been traveling to for many seasons.

 For the first time in eight years, the Bulldogs are skipping the nation's highest profile and most demanding tournament, the Cathedral City Classic.  The tourney has been the site of some of Fresno State's biggest wins in school history, including last season's 6-3 win over then-No. 5 ranked UCLA.  Since 2006, the Bulldogs -- in this one tournament alone -- have defeated national powers Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, UCLA, Virginia, UMass, North Carolina, Maryland, Northwestern, Penn State and Texas Tech to name just a few.

Clearly, the Cathedral City Classic has been a pivotal tournament that helped boost Fresno State's RPI over the past decade.  Also noticeably absent from the 2013 Bulldog schedule is the Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton.  A mainstay in that tournament for a generation, Fresno State will not play in the tourney for the first time in a quarter century.

Like Cathedral City, the Garman Classic (previously known as both the Kia Klassic and PONY Invitational over the years) was always a key tourney that solidified Fresno State's reputation for playing one of the nation's strongest non-conference schedules.  The Bulldogs won the prestigious Garman championship twice, including as recently as 2008.  It too was the site of some of the biggest wins in program history.

Fresno State over the years had beaten perennial powers Arizona State, Florida, Oklahoma, Michigan (twice), Florida State, Washington, Arizona, Illinois (twice), Notre Dame, Nebraska, Iowa, UL-Lafayette, Oregon State and North Carolina (twice), among others, at that tourney in Fullerton.  Twice in the past five years, Fresno State beat a Top 5-ranked Michigan team at the Garman Classic, including a 3-1 win in the 2011 season when the Bulldogs snapped the Wolverines' 22-game winning streak.  Wright's squad also topped then-2nd ranked Arizona State 6-1 in Fullerton in the 2007 season.

While this year's Garman Classic takes place March 14-17, Ford's Bulldogs will compete that weekend at the Capital Classic in Sacramento against the likes of host Sacramento State, Texas State, Kansas, and Ford's alma mater, St. Mary's College.

San Diego State is set to host or co-host three tournaments again this season in its last year as a Mountain West member.

The Aztecs have already solidified the full tournament fields for each of their tournaments, and those fields will include a bevy of Mountain West teams.  The annual Campbell-Cartier Classic (Feb. 14-17) will feature a powerful field, including 2012 Women's College World Series qualifier Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Kentucky and Washington, in addition to UC Riverside.

In March, San Diego State will co-host, along with the University of San Diego, the annual San Diego Classics I and II.  In Classic I (Feb. 28-March 3), the field includes MW members Fresno State, Boise State, New Mexico and the host Aztecs.  Competing alongside them are Utah State (which, itself, will be a MW member beginning in the 2014 season), former MW member BYU, 12-time national champion UCLA, Long Beach State and USD.

In Classic II (March 14-17), MW members Colorado State and UNLV will be in the field, along with San Jose State, which will join the MW beginning in the 2014 season.  Along with those squads will be UMass, Buffalo, Bryant, Fairfield, Harvard, Long Beach State, Marist, Miami, Seton Hall, Texas Tech, UT-Arlington and the two co-hosts.

With Fresno State appearing in San Diego State's Classic I Feb. 28-March 3, the Aztecs will return the favor by traveling to the Bulldogs' annual Bayer CropScience Classic the following week.  Along with San Diego State, Fresno State's tourney will feature, among others, 2012 Women's College World Series entrant Oregon.  The Ducks appeared in the tourney last season and pulled out a come-from-behind, 5-4 win over the host Bulldogs after being down to their last strike in the seventh inning.

Despite the Bulldogs not appearing in Cathedral City, four MW teams will participate in that prestigious tourney.  Colorado State, Nevada, UNLV and San Diego State will all be in the field that features the biggest names in the sport, including Florida, Tennessee, Georgia, UCLA, Arizona, LSU, Oklahoma, Florida State, Oklahoma State and many more.

San Diego State will open its 2013 season Feb. 7-10 at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe with another loaded field that includes Arizona and Arizona State, along with numerous others.  Fresno State will host the Kick-Off Tournament Feb. 8-10 at Bulldog Diamond, featuring Sacramento State among others.  Colorado State and Nevada will both open the '13 campaign at the Red Desert Classic in St. George, Utah, against a field that includes Southeastern Conference powers Tennessee and Arkansas.

UNLV hosts its annual Louisville Slugger tourney on weekend two of the season in February.  Among the visitors:  BYU and Long Beach State.  Colorado State will host a tourney that includes Nebraska-Omaha in Fort Collins March 1-3.  Nevada will participate in the Libby Matson tourney at Pacific March 1-3.  Among the teams the Wolf Pack will face:  host Pacific, along with San Jose State and Southern Utah.

Some non-conference series that we know of:  Boise State will tangle with Arizona in Tucson March 8-9.  Fresno State will close the season May 11 with a doubleheader at Long Beach State.  Nevada will play a two-game series at Sacramento State in early April.  Fresno State will host Pacific in a March 20 single game.  New Mexico will play a pair at Oregon in Eugene in March.

Without a conference postseason tournament, the Mountain West's automatic NCAA Tournament bid will again go to the winner of the regular-season title.

Teams should have their complete schedules unveiled very soon, but we'll have more updates as they become available.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Off-season news in the Mountain West

New Fresno State head coach Trisha Ford with AD Thomas Boeh.

Normally in the 'dog days of summer,' you won't be hearing too much college softball news.  But that's not the case this time around.  News and rumblings around the world of Mountain West softball have been ongoing in June, July and August.

First and foremost are the two new additions to the Mountain West:  Fresno State and Nevada.  Both became official members on July 1 and will compete for the 2013 conference championship.

Among the latest news:

Fresno State

Probably no news was bigger than the retirement of legendary softball coach Margie Wright, the trailblazing giant in the sport.  Wright's retirement after 27 years at the helm of the Bulldogs means Fresno State will take the field in 2013 with its first new softball coach since the 1985 season.  Wright departed as the all-time winningest coach in NCAA softball history, with 1,457 victories under her belt and a winning percentage of 74.2%.

On June 18, the school hired former Stanford associate head coach Trisha Ford as the new Bulldogs head coach.  Ford has been at Stanford for the past nine years, including the last four as the lead assistant under Cardinal head coach John Rittman.  On July 26, Ford announced the hiring of former Washington standout Sara Pickering as a new Fresno State assistant.  Also that date, Florida State announced on its web site that former Seminoles player Carly Wynn had been named an assistant at Fresno State.  Still, this news remains curious, since it has not been confirmed with any sort of announcement on the Bulldogs' web site more than two weeks later.

On July 12, in Chicago, former Fresno State standout Laura Berg was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame, along with her 2004 U.S. Olympic Women's Softball Team.


At the conclusion of last season, the Rebels announced that head coach Pete Manarino was not being retained.  Manarino last took UNLV to the NCAA Tournament in 2009, when the Rebels met (and lost) to then-WAC member Fresno State in an opening-round game. He was 113-86 at UNLV, including a 22-27 (3-9 MW) mark last season.

On June 21, the school announced the hiring of former UCLA standout Lisa Dodd as the new head coach.  Dodd was most recently an assistant at Oregon, where she spent the last three seasons with the Ducks.

Boise State

Perhaps the biggest news surrounding the Broncos' softball team revolves around a new, on-campus stadium.  Boise State played its first four seasons of collegiate ball at the Mountain Cove softball complex, a former high school facility, but will move to a new home beginning in the 2013 season -- Dona Larsen Park.

The new field combines the softball facility, a track and field venue, and a football practice facility, a short distance from the blue turf of Boise State's famed football stadium.  Head coach Erin Thorpe announced the signing of two new transfers this month in former Cal Poly pitcher Rebecca Patton and former Yavapai College catcher Brittany McCray.

San Diego State

The Aztecs saw their assistant coach Stacey Nuveman Deniz, the former UCLA standout, and her 2004 U.S. Olympic Women's Softball Team inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame on July 12 in Chicago.

On June 19, San Diego State head softball coach Kathy Van Wyk inked a new, 3-year contract extension with the school.  The Aztecs will embark on their final season in the Mountain West in 2013 before moving to the Big West for the 2014 season.  That year, new Mountain West teams will arrive in the form of San Jose State and Utah State, which will depart a severely-weakened WAC.

 New Mexico

On August 4, Lobos head softball coach Erica Beach was inducted into the Arizona Softball Foundation Hall of Fame. Beach is the seventh former Arizona State standout to be inducted into the ASF Hall.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Fresno State, Nevada officially join the MW

They're here!

The sport of softball in the Mountain West Conference officially has two new members as of this morning.  Fresno State and Nevada joined the MW today, further strengthening the conference.

The Bulldogs have advanced to more NCAA softball tournaments than any team in the nation, reaching 30 of the past 31.  Fresno State has been to 12 Women's College World Series and has advanced all the way to the national championship game four times.  The Bulldogs won the national title in 1998, garnering the first, and still only, NCAA softball crown for a team from either the WAC or Mountain West.

Fresno State's 1998 championship run is the last time a team outside the Pac-12, Big 12, Big Ten or SEC has not only won the NCAA softball title, but even reached the championship game.

The Bulldogs won at least a portion of the WAC title (regular-season or postseason tournament) championship 11 times in the past 17 years.

Nevada arrives with some postseason experience of its own, having won the WAC tourney crown as recently as 2006 and last reaching the NCAA Tournament in 2009.  In 2008, Nevada (along with Fresno State) was one of four WAC teams to advance to an NCAA regional championship game.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

MW champ San Diego State off to UCLA regional

San Diego State captured the 2012 Mountain West regular-season championship and the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament that comes along with it.

The Aztecs finished the season 30-22 overall and 9-3 in the conference with their fifth Mountain West title.  It was the first since 2008, however, since BYU won the past three.  The Cougars (43-13 overall) this year were placed in the Western Athletic Conference for one season before moving to the PCSC.

San Diego State will open play at the Los Angeles Regional in the NCAA Tournament Friday by facing Florida State (46-14) of the Atlantic Coast Conference.  The game between the Aztecs and Seminoles begins Friday at 3 p.m. Pacific time, and will be followed by a game between host UCLA (36-18) and Hofstra (38-13).  The Bruins, who beat SDSU 1-0 earlier this season, are the No. 12 overall seed in tourney.

Los Angeles Regional Schedule

Friday, May 18
Game 1 - 3 p.m. - San Diego State (30-22) vs. Florida State (46-14)
Game 2 - 5:30 p.m. - Hofstra (38-13) vs. UCLA (36-18)

Saturday, May 19
Game 3 - 1 p.m. - Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2
Game 4 - 3:30 p.m. - Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2
Game 5 - 6 p.m. - Loser Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4

Sunday, May 20
Game 6 - 12 p.m. - Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 5
Game 7 - 2:30 p.m. - Winner Game 6 vs. Loser Game 6 (if necessary)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Mountain West officially adds Aggies, Spartans

The Mountain West made it official and announced today that San Jose State and Utah State have accepted invitations to join the Conference, effective with the 2013-14 academic year. The addition of the Spartans and Aggies on July 1, 2013, will bring the full-time membership of the Mountain West to nine institutions, seven of whom will participate in the sport of softball.

Hawai'i will compete in football only, while Air Force and Wyoming do not sponsor the sport of softball.

With Boise State and San Diego State both set to leave the conference after next season, that means the 2014 Mountain West softball teams will be:

  • Colorado State
  • Fresno State
  •  Nevada
  •  New Mexico
  •  San Jose State
  •  UNLV
  •  Utah State

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Utah St., San Jose St. to the Mountain West?

Numerous reports in the last 48 hours have the Aggies of Utah State and Spartans of San Jose State on their way out of the Western Athletic Conference to join the Mountain West.

The Salt Lake Tribune says Utah State's invitation to join the MW could come in the next seven to 10 days.  The San Jose Mercury News says San Jose State's invitation to join the MW could come this week.  If all goes as planned, the Aggies and Spartans would become full members -- including in softball -- for the 2013-14 season.

With Boise State and San Diego State both set to leave the conference after next season, that means the 2014 softball season would feature the following  Mountain West teams:
  • Colorado State
  • Fresno State
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • San Jose State
  • UNLV
  • Utah State
In softball this season, San Jose State is currently tied for fourth in the WAC standings and is 26-24 overall.  The Spartans are ranked 23rd in the latest Mid-Major Softball Poll and have wins this season over nationally-ranked Hawai'i and Stanford, in addition to marquee victories over 2011 Women's College World Series qualifier Oklahoma State and Wisconsin of the Big Ten.

Utah State is in seventh place in the WAC, but has beaten several teams from major conferences, including 2011 NCAA Tournament qualifier Indiana of the Big Ten, North Carolina State of the ACC and St. John's of the Big East.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

SDSU's Miles named National Player of the Week

San Diego State's Hayley Miles was named the NFCA's National Player of the Week for her efforts a week ago when the Aztecs swept New Mexico.

Miles went 8-for-11 last week with 10 runs, eight RBI, seven walks and five home runs. For the week, the sophomore had a .727 batting average, .842 on-base percentage and a 2.091 slugging percentage.

She hit multiple home runs in two of the three games against the Lobos and reaching base at least twice in each contest. In her first two games of the week, Miles went 6-for-6 with three doubles, three home runs and three walks.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Aztecs have 2-game lead in MW standings

San Diego State has surged to a 2-game lead in the Mountain West standings after a second consecutive weekend sweep.

The Aztecs swept reeling New Mexico on the road in Albuquerque to move to 6-0 in the conference.  That's good enough for a 2-game lead over second-place Boise State (4-2), which lost two of three to Colorado State over the weekend.

It looks like San Diego State's monster of a non-conference schedule, filled with national powers and tough teams, left Coach Kathy Van Wyk's squad well prepared for the Mountain West season.  The Aztecs suffered non-conference losses to the likes of UCLA, Oregon, Tennessee, Stanford, Texas, Oklahoma, California, Fresno State, Arizona and others, but facing those tough teams may have been a blessing in disguise.

With BYU dispatched off to the tougher Western Athletic Conference this season, the Aztecs now have a clearer path to the Mountain West title, and no longer have to face the 3-time defending MW champion Cougars.

Colorado State, New Mexico and UNLV are a combined 2-10 in conference play and face steep odds of getting back in the race for the MW automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament that goes to the league's regular-season champion.  With only five teams in the MW this season, San Diego State is already half-way through its 12-game conference schedule, meaning a 2-game margin is huge at this point.

Boise State visits the Aztecs May 4-5, likely needing a sweep to prevent San Diego State from claiming the Mountain West championship.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

San Diego St. pounds reeling New Mexico again

San Diego State improved to 5-0 in the Mountain West (24-19 overall) with a 12-6 win in Albuquerque Saturday over reeling New Mexico.

The Aztecs saw their lead in the MW standings grow to two full games over Boise State, which suffered its second loss in a row to Colorado State by a 5-3 score Saturday.  The Rams are now 2-3 in the conference, while the Broncos are 3-2.  San Diego State topped New Mexico 8-3 in game one of their series on Friday.

Both the CSU-BSU series, as well as the SDSU-UNM series, will conclude Sunday with a game three in both.

San Diego State sent New Mexico to its ninth loss in the last 11 games.  Both Division I softball teams in the state of New Mexico are on extended losing streaks.  UNM has two wins in its last 11 contests, while New Mexico State is now 2-15 in its last 17.  Ironically, New Mexico State has two wins this season over the Lobos, including a 9-1, run-rule affair in Albuquerque earlier this month.

Colorado State moved a game over .500 at 22-21 overall.  It is just the second time the Rams have inched a game over .500 this season.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Aztecs' Micetich one-hits USD; Lobos get swept

In non-conference games Wednesday, San Diego State came out a winner when Bailey Micetich tossed a complete-game, 1-hitter to beat local rival USD.

Also Wednesday, New Mexico continued to have trouble against strong competition.  The Lobos were swept in a doubleheader against No. 13/12 Arizona, falling to the Wildcats 8-1 in the opener and 5-0 in the nightcap.

San Diego State won its fourth straight game in the win over the Toreros. In games versus teams with winning records, New Mexico has now dropped 11 in a row.  After starting the season 17-2, UNM is now 7-11 in its past 18 games.

San Diego State, tied atop the MW with Boise State at 3-0, travels to Albuquerque for a 3-game series beginning tomorrow.  New Mexico has yet to play a conference game this season.  Despite a 24-13 overall record, UNM has not defeated a team with a winning record since February 23.

Monday, April 16, 2012

San Diego St., Boise St. sweep opening series

San Diego State and Boise State have moved out to the early lead in the Mountain West standings after both scored 3-game sweeps on the opening weekend of conference play.

The Aztecs took three from Colorado State, while the Broncos swept three from UNLV.

New Mexico was the lone MW team not to play a conference game.  The Lobos suffered a 9-1 (five innings) loss at home to rival New Mexico State of the Western Athletic Conference.  In the process, the Aggies swept the two-game, home-and-away, season series from the Lobos.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Conference play begins next week

Conference play begins next week in the Mountain West, and teams may be looking forward to it after a difficult non-conference season.

Wednesday was one of the toughest days of the season in MW softball as the league went 1-5 in non-conference play.  Colorado State was the lone winner yesterday, shutting out Northern Colorado 8-0.

San Diego State suffered its most heartbreaking loss of the season in dramatic fashion.  Justeen Maeva drove in five runs to break the Aztecs' career RBI record, but San Diego State blew a 5-run lead in the seventh inning in a crushing, 8-6 loss at No. 19 Arizona.

The Wildcats trailed 6-1 entering the bottom of the seventh and were later down to their last strike, trailing 6-3 when a 3-run homer off Bailey Micetich tied the game.  Arizona got a 2-run, walk-off home run in the eighth to win it, pushing San Diego State's record below .500 for the first time this season at 18-19.

Boise State is now looking at a 3-game losing streak after a series sweep at the hands of Oregon.  The Broncos lost the opener to the Ducks 4-1, and were run-ruled 14-6 in five innings in the nightcap of a Wednesday doubleheader.  Oregon completed the 3-game sweep of Boise State with a 6-4 win Thursday. UNLV also was swept in a doubleheader at Southern Utah Wednesday, falling 9-1 (six innings) and 3-2.

New Mexico plays a key, 3-game series at Texas this weekend, along with a single game vs. Tulsa.

The Golden Hurricane are tied for the No. 4 spot in the Mid-Major Softball Poll alongside Fresno State, which joins the Mountain West on July 1.  Along in the mid-major rankings, three current MW teams are included.  New Mexico is seventh, San Diego State is tied for 11th, and Boise State is 17th.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

No. 23/24 Lobos lose 4th consecutive game

New Mexico, which just moved into the Softball Top 25 poll this week, may find its stay in the national rankings short-lived.

The Lobos, No. 24 by ESPN and No. 23 by USA Today/NFCA, lost their fourth consecutive game -- all against unranked opponents -- Wednesday, falling to New Mexico State 8-6 in Las Cruces.  It was the third loss of the week for New Mexico, which was swept by Texas Tech Monday.

The problem for New Mexico of late has been pitching and the Lobos struggled again Wednesday.  Five of the nine hits allowed by UNM to the Aggies went for extra bases.  New Mexico State had at least one double in each of the first four innings against Lobo pitcher Kaela DeBroeck and Carrie Sheehan.  Staci Rodriguez's 3-run home run in the sixth put the game away for New Mexico State.

The Lobos are allowing an average of more than eight runs per game over their past six contests.  New Mexico State's 8-run uprising means UNM has now given up a total of 50 runs in just the past six games.  After beginning the season with a 13-1 record, the Lobos have fallen on hard times, going 4-5 in their past nine games overall.

All six of New Mexico's losses this season have come to unranked teams.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

SDSU falls to future Mountain West foe Fresno St.

Next year it will be a Mountain West Conference game, and San Diego State is probably glad it didn't count as a league game this year.

Fresno State, which joins the Mountain West officially in less than four months, got a great pitching performance from Michelle Moses Friday as the Bulldogs knocked off the Aztecs 4-1 in their own San Diego Classic.

Moses threw a complete-game 1-hitter, struck out 10 and didn't allow an earned run as Fresno State beat the Aztecs in San Diego for the second straight season.  The right-handed pitcher had her no-hitter broken up in the sixth inning by SDSU senior Felicia Reifschneider, and the Aztecs scored on a Bulldog infield error.

With the score 2-1 in the top of the seventh, Fresno State hit three consecutive doubles to break the game open.  The last two came off Rebecca Arbino as the Bulldogs went in front 4-1.  Fresno State had six extra-base hits in the game -- five doubles and a triple -- with eight of nine hits overall coming from freshmen and sophomores for the Bulldogs who will play in the Mountain West next season.

It was Fresno State's third win already this season over a 2011 NCAA Tournament team.  San Diego State bounced back following the setback to the Bulldogs and routed Charlotte 9-0 in five innings.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Lobos ranked No. 25 in the country

New Mexico is ranked in the coaches' Top 25 for the first time in 13 seasons.

The Lobos (13-2) moved into the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 at No. 25 this week for the first time since the 1999 season when they went 42-14 overall.  New Mexico's 13-2 start matches the 1984 team for the best record after 15 games in school history.

UNM went 4-1 at last week's Cathedral City Classic, beating overrated Texas A&M 15-3 along the way.  The Lobos' lone loss of the weekend came against a Cal Poly squad that was just 2-7 overall heading into the game.  New Mexico has beaten two Pac-12 teams (Oregon and Oregon State) this season and its only other loss came at home to Purdue.  The Boilermakers are unbeaten (9-0) and, somehow, unranked.

New Mexico also jumped to No. 4 in this week's Mid Major Softball Poll, which features three Mountain West teams.  San Diego State follows closely behind at No. 5, with Boise State at No. 17 this week.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mountain West and C-USA to form new league

It's now official.  The Mountain West and Conference USA will form a new alliance beginning in the 2013-14 season for all sports.

It appears as though we'll hear many more details in the next six months as this new conference unveils its new membership (which could range from 18 to 24 schools, according to reports) and all the specifics.

One thing is for sure:  Based on all the rumors, the future is very bright for a softball conference that is expected to feature two divisions (both east and west, presumably) and a number of high-profile programs.

As of now, these softball programs are slated to be involved in this exciting new conference: 

Colorado State
East Carolina
Fresno State
New Mexico
Southern Mississippi

According to, citing multiple sources, the following programs are the most likely to be added:  Charlotte, Florida International, North Texas, UT-San Antonio, Louisiana Tech, Middle Tennessee State, Western Kentucky, Old Dominion, UMass and Temple.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Texas Tech edges Aztecs, 5-4, in opener

Texas Tech came from behind to knock off Mountain West preseason favorite San Diego State today 5-4 in the season opener for both teams at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe.

Sophomore Lorena Klopp hit the first pitch she saw of the 2012 season for a solo home run over the center field fence, and San Diego State was up 4-2 after three innings.

The Red Raiders, who are receiving votes along with the Aztecs in national polls, scored single runs in every inning but the first and seventh to come from behind for the victory.  Kamerin May (0-1) went the distance for SDSU, allowing eight hits and picking the loss.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Mountain West / C-USA merger talks heat up

The odds of a full-scale, all-sports merger between the Mountain West and Conference USA appear to be getting stronger.

According to numerous reports, a meeting will take place this week regarding an all-sports merger between the two leagues.

By the 2013-14 season, we could be seeing a super conference with as many as 16 teams overall.  As it currently stands, 11 of the 16 schools in the proposed merger sponsor the sport of softball.  Thus, there's a strong chance such a scenario could involve adding a 12th school, which would enable a split into two 6-team softball divisions.

If all goes as planned (and that's a big if), the 2014 MWC/C-USA season could involve one super conference featuring the following schools:

Colorado State
East Carolina
Fresno State
New Mexico
Southern Mississippi

That would be a pretty dynamic softball conference.  Five of those teams are currently ranked in the Top 25 of the Mid-Major Poll, and are either ranked or receiving votes in the NFCA/USA Today and Softball national rankings.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Coaches pick Aztecs to win title; UNLV second

The Mountain West preseason coaches poll was released this morning and it's the Aztecs of San Diego State who came out on top.

The MW coaches unanimously picked San Diego State to win the 2012 title as the Aztecs picked up all four votes in which they were eligible.  With coaches not allowed to vote for their own team, SDSU's Kathy Van Wyk selected UNLV as her preseason favorite.

Finishing third is Boise State, which is in its first season as a MW member after finishing third in the Western Athletic Conference a season ago.  The Broncos edged the New Mexico Lobos by a single vote for the No. 4 spot.  Colorado State, which finished last in the conference in 2011, is predicted to finish there again this year.

In either a voting snafu or a typo, the Rams inexplicably received just three points in the balloting, according to the official MW release.  Even if Colorado State was ranked last on each eligible ballot, the Rams should have received no fewer than four votes.

We'll see if that's corrected in the future.

Next year, Fresno State and Nevada will depart the WAC and join the Mountain West in time for the 2013 season.  The Bulldogs are the preseason WAC favorite this season in voting done by that conference's coaches.  The Wolf Pack are predicted to finish fifth.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Aztecs ranked 8th, Rebels 19th in mid-major poll

The first preseason Mid-Major Softball Top 25 Poll was released late Sunday evening, and it holds good news for a pair of Mountain West Conference teams.

San Diego State will begin the year ranked eighth among mid-majors in the poll, which is conducted by a consortium of knowledgeable college softball fans from around the country. In 2012, the poll voters consist of bloggers who routinely cover the Atlantic 10 Conference, the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, and the Western Athletic Conference.

At No. 19 in the rankings is UNLV.  It is the second poll in which the Rebels received preseason recognition, after earning a spot in last week's rankings.  The Aztecs have received votes in all three preseason polls, including the NFCA Top 25.

Among mid-majors, Louisiana-Lafayette is ranked first, while future Mountain West member Fresno State is tied for the No. 2 spot with defending Conference USA champ Tulsa.  Fourth-ranked Fordham sits just ahead of former Mountain West member BYU, which is No. 5.

UMass is ranked sixth, followed by 2011 NCAA Super Regional team Houston in seventh.  San Diego State is tied with the WAC's Hawai'i Rainbow Wahine in the eighth spot.  Rounding out the top 10 is New Mexico State.

The complete poll may be viewed here.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

San Diego State, UNLV get poll recognition

San Diego State received Top 25 votes in a pair of preseason polls out this morning, while UNLV was recognized in one.

Both teams are listed outside the Top 25 but received votes.

The Aztecs are No. 34 in the NFCA/USA Today Top 25 coaches poll. San Diego State is 31st in the Softball rankings, while UNLV is at No. 41.

How much thought went into these national rankings? Painfully little. All 25 teams in last year's final poll are in the Top 25 again. In the NFCA poll, only one team was replaced. DePaul, at No. 25 last year, fell a single spot to No. 26.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

College Sports Madness preseason all-MW team has released its 2012 preseason All-Mountain West softball team on its web site.

According to College Sports Madness, this season's Mountain West awards will be spread among a variety of teams. They project Devon Bridges of Boise State to be the conference's field player of the year, with the pitcher of the year award going to San Diego State's Bailey Micetich.

Their projections also include a pair of honors going to UNLV. Rebels freshman Caitlin Klepper is forecast as the conference freshman of the year, with coaching honors going to Pete Manarino.

In all, College Sports Madness has UNLV dominating the first team picks with five, followed by New Mexico with three, and San Diego State and Boise State with two apiece.

In addition, San Diego State has been ranked 23rd by CSM in its preseason Top 44 rankings. The Aztecs are predicted to win the Mountain West championship by the web site.