Feb. 23, 2012
Coming off a good showing at last week’s Stanford Nike Invitational, the Nevada softball team heads to Southern California this week to compete in the Gaucho Classic in Santa Barbara.
Nevada will take on in-state rival UNLV, Houston, San Diego in the event along with a pair of games against the host school, UC Santa Barbara.
All five of this weekend’s games will have GameTracker coverage to go along with free audio streaming at NevadaWolfPack.com.
This will be the only meeting between Nevada and UNLV this season before the rivalry becomes a conference series next season in the Mountain West. Houston is ranked 23rd in the nation and will be the second ranked foe the Wolf Pack has played this year (split with then-No. 8 Stanford last week). Nevada will play USD five times this season -- once this week and once next week at a tournament in San Diego before the Toreros come to Reno for the Wolf Pack Classic in March.
ON THE AIR
This week’s five-game slate will feature free audio streaming at NevadaWolfPack.com.
The next radio broadcast for the Wolf Pack softball team will be in April when San Jose State comes to Hixson Park for a three-game WAC set.
Nevada went 2-3 last week at the Stanford Nike Invitational but it was a productive weekend with a win over a Top 10 school and a come-from-behind victory to conclude play and build momentum moving forward.
The Wolf Pack fell to Pacific and Bradley to open play in the event but then run-ruled No. 8 Stanford 11-3 to conclude round-robin play. After the Wolf Pack fell to the Cardinal in the bracketed portion of the tournament, Nevada took third place by beating Pacific with a furious two-out rally in the bottom of the seventh inning. Nevada trailed 5-1 and scored six runs to beat the Tigers. The final blow was a three-run walk-off home run by Sara Parsons.
WE’RE GOING STREAKING
Nevada picked up the pace offensively last week and four players are carrying hitting streaks of four games or longer heading into this weekend. Sophomore Caylin Campbell has the longest streak at seven games, dating back to the season-opening event at the Aggie Stampede at UC Davis. Junior Lauren Lastrapes and sophomore Karley Hopkins each recorded a hit in all five of last weekend’s games and have five-game hitting streaks. Sophomore Sara Parsons’s hitting streak is at four games after her walk-off home run to beat Pacific on Sunday.
PACK PICKED FIFTH
Nevada was picked to finish fifth in its final season in the Western Athletic Conference in the preseason poll, which was voted on by the coaches.
Fresno State took the top spot in the preseason poll with 44 points and three first-place votes. Hawai`i came in second, picking up two first-place votes and 42 points, followed by New Mexico State in third place with 37 points and two first-place votes. Brigham Young received the other first-place vote and came in fourth place with 35 points. Nevada was picked to finish fifth with 20 points, followed by San Jose State and Louisiana Tech tied for sixth with 17 points apiece. Utah State rounded out the poll in eighth place with 12 points.
Nevada was dealt a blow on the eve of the season when junior third baseman Erin Jones suffered a knee injury in practice. Jones is expected to miss the entire season. The junior was Nevada’s lone representative on the Preseason All-WAC team after she earned second-team honors in 2011 by batting .362 with five home runs and 21 in her first season with the Pack after transferring from Sacramento State.
AROUND THE HORN
The Wolf Pack returns one All-Region player in sophomore shortstop Karley Hopkins. Hopkins played second base for the bulk of 2011 but will switch to shortstop in 2012 with the departure of four-year starter Danielle Patrick ... For the second straight season, the Wolf Pack will have the services of a Division I transfer. This year, Sparks native Karlyn Jones, who prepped at Spanish Spring High School along with Pack teammates Mallary Darby and Karley Hopkins, has transferred to Nevada after playing her freshman season at Pitt in 2011. Jones set a Pitt single-season and freshman record with a 1.57 earned-run average ... Nevada will be without the services of junior utility player Jayme King this season as the Fernley, Nev., native continues her treatment for a form of a cancer known as Ewing’s sarcoma, which was diagnosed in the summer of 2011 ... In 2011, Nevada had two pitchers pitch in 92 percent of the innings played and just three pitchers on the roster. This year, Nevada will have five pitchers vying for time in the circle. Pitcher Bailey Brewer played in a handful of games for Nevada in 2011 before suffering a season-ending injury. She received a medical hardship from the NCAA and will be a redshirt freshman for the Wolf Pack in 2012 ... The Wolf Pack has four newcomers in 2012 including three freshmen in catcher Ashley Butera, pitcher Emily Seidel and utility player Molly McWilliams. The fourth newcomer is transfer Karlyn Jones ... The Wolf Pack will have the services of two players who redshirted last year due to injury as outfielder Sydney Jones and designated player Sam Puzey are both healthy for the 2012 season ... Nevada will play the first 20 games of the season in California at tournaments hosted by UC Davis, Stanford, UC Santa Barbara and San Diego State. The Wolf Pack won’t play another game in the Golden State the rest of the year as WAC foes Fresno State and San Jose State will both travel to Reno this season.