The Wolf Pack returns the bulk of last year’s team that went 28-31 overall and came within a game of making it to its second-straight NCAA Tournament. Nevada brings back 15 letterwinners, all eight starters and its top two pitchers from last year’s team. Senior pitcher Jordan McPherson was named the Preseason Pitcher of the Year in the Western Athletic Conference this season. She was joined on the All-WAC Preseason Team by junior outfielder Brittany Puzey, who was an All-West Region selection in 2007. The Pack adds five freshmen to the mix this year and the other newcomer is senior pitcher Richelle Villescas, a transfer from Temple. The Pack is coached by Michelle Gardner in her sixth year overall and at Nevada.
ABOUT THIS WEEKEND
The University of Nevada opens its 2008 campaign with a tough slate at the Freeway Series in Southern California. The tournament is made up of two events the Stacy Winsberg Memorial Tournament at UCLA and the Cal State Fullerton Tournament. The Wolf Pack opens the season with five games this weekend, three against teams ranked in the top 25 and two of those against teams ranked in the top 10 nationally.
The majority, if not all, of Nevada’s games this weekend should be available on the Internet through the LiveStats function at www.nevadawolfpack.com.
Nevada first opponent of the 2008 season is the Bruins, who are ranked No. 10 in the preseason ESPN.com/USA Softball poll and 14th in the preseason USA Today/NFCA rankings. UCLA was picked third in the preseason Pac-10 poll as seven Pac-10 teams are nationally ranked. The Bruins went 37-18 last season and finished in a tie for third in the Pac-10 before advancing to the NCAA Regionals. UCLA is coached by Kelly Inouye-Perez, who is entering her second season in Westwood.
Nevada is 3-9 in the series history with UCLA.
SCOUTING UC SANTA BARBARA
The Gauchos went 30-23 last season and also qualified for the NCAA Regionals for the third time in program history. UCSB returns 16 letterwinners and five starters, including three All-Big West Conference selections. The Gauchos are picked seventh in the Big West preseason poll after finishing sixth last season. They are coached by Brie Galicinao, who is in her first year as a head coach at the school and overall.
Nevada is 4-7 in the series history with UC Santa Barbara.
The Wolf Pack and the Sooners will meet for the first time on the softball field on Saturday at the Cal State Fullerton Tournament. The Sooners are ranked No. 5 in the preseason ESPN.com/USA Softball poll and 5th in the preseason USA Today/NFCA rankings. Oklahoma was picked to finish second in the Big 12 preseason coaches’ poll after going 55-8 (14-4, 2nd in the Big 12) in 2007 and advancing to the NCAA Super Regionals. The Sooners are led by senior pitcher Lauren Eckermann and junior first baseman Samantha Ricketts, who are both on the initial watch list for the USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year award. OU is coached by Patty Gasso, who is 801-267-2 overall in 17 years and 638-208-2 in 13 years at Oklahoma.
SCOUTING CAL STATE FULLERTON
The Titans will be the third-straight ranked opponent for Nevada as Cal State Fullerton is ranked No. 24 in the preseason ESPN.com/USA Softball poll and 21st in the preseason USA Today/NFCA rankings. In 2007, Cal State Fullerton finished 38-23 overall and 2nd in the Big West with a 13-5 mark. The Titans advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals, where they lost to eventual national champion Arizona. They return nine letterwinners and eight starters overall with seven newcomers joining the program. The Titans are coached by Michelle Gromacki, who is 310-159 overall and in eight years at the school.
Nevada is 0-2 in the series history with Cal State Fullerton.
SCOUTING SANTA CLARA
The Broncos are coming off a 12-47 campaign but are now under the direction of first-year coach Lisa Mize. Santa Clara is led by senior pitchers Jerrica Catagno and Jackie Morales and senior position players Maggie Godfrey and Ashley Blier.
Nevada is 1-0 in the series history with Santa Clara.
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