Softball Games of the Weekend 2/9 – 2/11

LSU College Softball Simone Heyward

Softball Games of the Weekend 2/9 – 2/11

College Softball season opens this weekend, starting Thursday.  The early season tournaments and round robins create a host of intriguing matchups between some of the country’s best that should generate some extremely entertaining action.




The Kajikawa Classic

The Kajikawa Classic kicks off in Tempe Arizona at noon on Thursday. The teams in competition include:  #1 Arizona St., #2 Arizona, #7 Tennessee, #10 Stanford, #12 Washington, #13 Texas A&M, #15 Nebraska, # 16 Oregon, #18 Georgia Tech, #19 Northwestern, #26 Texas Tech, #27 Syracuse, and #31 BYU.

#12 Washington vs. #15 Nebraska (2pm Thursday, 2/9 – Tempe, Arizona)
A Pac-12 versus Big 10 tilt.  Both teams have high hopes for 2012.  Ashley Hagemann leads a solid Cornhusker pitching staff against a veteran Huskie offense that returns seniors Niki Williams, Kimi Pohlman and Taylor Smith.

#6 Cal vs. # 7 Tennessee (11:30am Friday, 2/10 – Tempe, Arizona)
Another great Pac-12/SEC tilt. Cal’s Jolene Henderson, one of the nation’s best, battles against the prolific Volunteer offense.

#10 Stanford vs. #13 Texas A&M (2pm Friday, 2/10 – Tempe, Arizona)
2011 USA National Player of the Year Ashley Hansen leads the Stanford Cardinal as they begin their 2012 campaign.  The Aggies will continue to test their lineup against tough PAC-12 opponents.

#2 Arizona vs. #13 Texas A&M (4pm Saturday, 2/11 – Tempe, Arizona)
A streamlined Arizona lineup returns Shelby Babcock and Kenzie Fowler in the circle.  Texas A&M will likely start 2011 All-American Mel Dumezich. The Wildcats and Aggies both fell just short of the Women’s College World Series, losing in Super Regionals.

#1 Arizona St. vs. #7 Tennessee (7pm Saturday, 2/11 – Tempe, Arizona)
An early test for both teams and the kind of PAC-12/SEC matchup softball fans long to see. Last year’s national champions go up against the Volunteers who have one of the most talented teams in the country.  A fantastic pitching duel should be the result.  The Sun Devils’ Dallas Escobedo is sure to face off with one of the Renfroe sisters, Ellen or Ivy.

Tiger Classic, Baton Rouge, LA

#5 Michigan vs. #21 LSU (12:30pm Saturday, 2/11 – Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Tiger Park)
Both teams have significant new pieces to fit into the puzzle.  Even though Michigan returns a veteran offense and defense, they will need to replace Jordan Taylor in the circle. Freshman pitchers Sara Driesenga and Haylie Wagner will take up the mantle and get tested early. Additionally, catcher Lauren Sweet, a high school All-American will make her debut.  The Wolverine offense, that returns five batters who hit over .300, will look to handle LSU’s pitching staff that includes Brittany Mack.  New LSU Head Coach Beth Torina will start her Tiger career.  The Tigers new hitting coach Howard Dobson will need to improve the LSU offense to support Mack.  A nice Big 10/SEC show down.

Stacy Winsberg Memorial Tournament

#3 UCLA v. # 32 Kentucky (6pm Thursday, 2/9, 6pm Friday, 2/10 and 2:30pm Saturday, 2/11 – Los Angeles CA, Easton Stadium)
Perennial power UCLA takes on up and comer Kentucky.  After failing to reach the World Series in 2011, UCLA regroups, adding Jr. National Team pitcher Ally Carda to the mix.  The Bruins will face a quality SEC squad that returns their entire pitching staff from a year ago.  Kentucky’s Head Coach Rachel Dawson has had the Wildcats on a winning trajectory since her arrival and has a challenging 2012 non-conference schedule to get them ready for a brutal league.  An entertaining three games, both teams will learn much about their squads through the series.