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Nevada is 9-7 on the season after sweeping a doubleheader at home over Sacramento State on Tuesday ... The Wolf Pack fell out of both national polls after a tough stretch last weekend at the Cathedral City Classic, but the team is receiving votes in both polls ... The Wolf Pack returned 13 letterwinners from last year, including seven starting position players and one pitcher ... Of the returners, seven earned first- or second-team All-WAC honors in 2008 ... Topping the list of returnees is sophomore catcher Noelle Micka, a second-team NFCA All-American in 2008; junior pitcher Katie Holverson, a second-team NFCA All-West Region honoree in 2008; and senior outfielder Brittany Puzey, an honorable mention NFCA All-West Region selection in 2007 ... Nevada went 44-18 overall in 2008 and captured its first WAC regular season crown with a 16-2 record ... The Wolf Pack advanced to the NCAA Regionals, where it fell in the title game at UCLA ... Nevada is led by first-year coach Matt Meuchel, who was an assistant here for four years (2003-06) before spending two years at Oklahoma State ... His staff includes fourth-year assistant Melanie Meuchel and first-year assistant coach Lisa Dodd.
ABOUT THIS TOURNAMENT
Nevada will play five games this weekend at DeMarini Invitational, which is being hosted by Cal State Fullerton.
The Wolf Pack will play twice on Friday, opening the tournament against Minnesota and then taking on Auburn, which is receiving votes in both the NFCA poll and the USA Softball poll. On Saturday, Nevada will take on No. 11/9 California and Oregon State. The Beavers are receiving votes in both major polls as well. The Wolf Pack will conclude play on Sunday against Cal Poly.
All of the games will be played one of two fields on the Cal State Fullerton campus.
The Golden Gophers enter the tournament with an 8-8 overall record. At the plate, Minnesota is hitting .237 as a team, led by Heidi Carls (.279), Colleen Conway (.278) and Dannie Skrove (.276). In the circle, Briana Hassett is the primary starter and she has an 8-3 record with a 1.34 earned-run average.
Minnesota has co-head coaches in Lisa Bernstein and Julie Standerling. The duo has more than 500 wins in 15 seasons at the school and they have guided the Gophers to five NCAA Tournament appearances.
Nevada and Minnesota have met once previously, with the Wolf Pack winning that game during the 2005 season.
The Tigers are 14-2 so far this season, including a win over then-No. 18 North Carolina. Auburn is coached by Tina Deese, who has amassed more than 400 wins in her 12-plus years at the school. She is in her 21st year overall as a head coach.
At the play, the Tigers are led by Myesha Finney, who has a 371 batting average with 10 runs, four home runs and 12 runs batted in. Kyndell White is hitting .333 while Lauren Guzman is batting at a .324 clip.
In the circle, the Tigers have a pair of hurlers with impressive marks. Anna Thompson is 8-1 with a 1.05 earned-run average while Jenee Loree boasts a 6-1 record with a 1.01 ERA. Those two pitchers have handled 115.2 of 116 innings this year for Auburn.
This will be the first ever meeting between Nevada and Auburn.
The Golden Bears enter this week ranked 11th in the NFCA poll and 9th in the USA Softball poll. They are coming off a 4-1 performance at the Cathedral City Classic last week. Cal’s only two losses this year have been to North Carolina and Kansas, schools that are either ranked or receiving votes.
Jamia Reid leads the team with a .349 average while Elia Reid (.343), Nikki Schrey (.333) and Valerie Arioto (.314) are all having success at the plate. In the circle, Marissa Drewrey sports an 8-2 record with a 1.75 ERA. As a team, Cal has a 1.48 ERA and has yielded just 18 earned runs this season.
Cal is coached by Diane Ninermire, who is in her 22nd season at the school.
Cal leads the all-time series with Nevada, 20-13-2. The teams met twice last year with Nevada taking a 10-2 victory and Cal winning 5-2.
SCOUTING OREGON STATE
The Beavers have a pair of players who are hitting better than .400 in Tarah Black (.421) and Audrey Roderfeld (.405). Paige Lowe is hitting .366 and leads the team with three home runs on the year. In terms of pitching, Oregon State has a team ERA of .384. Kelly Dyer is 4-5 with a 3.34 ERA while Paige Hall is 3-3 with a 4.61 ERA.
Oregon State enters the tournament with a 7-8 overall record and has lost four in a row -- to Northwestern, North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia Tech.
Kirk Walker is in his 15th year as coach of the Beavers. He is nearing the 500-win mark for his career.
Oregon State leads the all-time series between the teams 9-5. Nevada won the last meeting, 5-3 at the Kajikawa Classic in 2008.
SCOUTING CAL POLY
Cal Poly enters this tournament with a 4-5 overall record after a 2-3 mark at the Cathedral City Classic last week near Palm Springs. The Mustangs are led offensively by Stephanie Tam and Melissa Pura, who are batting .448 and .423, respectively. The power is supplied by Krysten Cary who is hitting .192 with just five hits on the year. But four of those have been home runs.
In terms of pitching, Helen Pena is 1-3 with a 2.67 ERA while Anna Cahn is 3-2 with a 3.26 earned-run average.
Cal Poly is coached by Jenny Condon, who is in her fifth year overall and at the school.
Nevada holds a 12-3 lead in the all-time series between the teams.