Feb. 9, 2010
Friday, Feb. 12
#8/#6 UCLA vs. #7/#8 Georgia - 2 p.m. PT
#8/#6 UCLA vs. UCF - 4 p.m. PT
Saturday, Feb. 13
#8/#6 UCLA vs. Florida Atlantic - 10 a.m. PT
#8/#6 UCLA vs. #16/#18 Tennessee - 12 p.m. PT
Sunday, Feb. 14
#8/#6 UCLA vs. #4/#3 Michigan - 6 a.m. PT
2010 SEASON OPENS UP IN FLORIDA
The Bruins (#8 in NFCA poll/#6 in USA Softball poll) begin their 2010 season this weekend at Dot Richardson's National Collegiate Softball Invitational at the NTC Softball Complex in Clermont, Fla. UCLA opens things up against #7/#8 Georgia (5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT) and UCF (7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT) on Friday. On Saturday, the Bruins take on Florida Atlantic (1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT) and #16/#18 Tennessee (3 p.m./12 p.m. PT) and conclude the weekend on Sunday against #4/#3 Michigan (9 a.m. ET/6 p.m. PT). Gametracker will be available for all games at UCLABruins.com.
The Bruins host the Stacy Winsberg Memorial Tournament next weekend at Easton Stadium. There will be 10 games over three days, with five of them involving UCLA, which faces Cal State Northridge and Cal Poly on Friday, UC Davis and Northridge on Saturday and Portland State on Sunday.
BRUINS IN THE POLLS
The Bruins earned preseason rankings of eighth in the USA Today/NFCA poll and sixth in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll. UCLA received one first-place vote in the USA Softball rankings. In the Pac-10 preseason poll, the Bruins were third (with one first-place vote), behind Washington and Arizona.
BRUINS ON THE WEB
Gametracker will be available for all UCLA softball games this season at UCLABruins.com. In addition, all Pac-10 contests, as well as select non-conference games, will be broadcast on the UCLA website.
BRUINS IN THE SUNSHINE STATE
UCLA has appeared in four tournaments in the state of Florida and owns a record of 27-1. This year's stop to the Sunshine State will be the first for the Bruins since 2003 when they went 5-0 at the FAU Worth Invitational in Boca Raton. The other three tournaments were played in Tampa, as the Bruins went 8-1 in 1994, 8-0 in 1996 and 6-0 in 2000. UCLA won its first eight games played in the state of Florida, and following a loss to Oklahoma State on March 13, 1994, have won its last 19 contests in the Sunshine State.
Native Floridian GiOnna DiSalvatore will have plenty of fans cheering her on this weekend as the Bruins make a trip to her home state. The junior is the fourth Bruin to come out of the Sunshine State, joining Chris Olivie, Claire Sua and Dot Richardson, who this weekend's tournament is named after.
NEIGHBORS TO THE NORTH
GiOnna DiSalvatore is not the only non-Californian on this year's roster, as she is joined by Washington native Whitney Baker and UCLA's first Canadian player, Charlotte Dolan. The freshman is the 28th UCLA softball player to hail from outside the state of California, but the first to come from our neighbors to the north. The state of Arizona leads the list for the most out-of-state Bruins with seven, followed by Florida and Washington with four, Australia with three, Texas with two and Connecticut, Kansas, Hawaii, Ohio, Nevada, New York and Tennessee with one apiece.
SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS
Georgia, which opens the year ranked seventh by the NFCA and eighth by USA Softball, comes off a 2009 season in which it went 47-12 and came within a game of reaching the Women's College World Series Championship Series. The Bulldogs forced an if necessary game before losing to eventual national champion Washington. Georgia returns 11 letterwinners, seven starters and two pitchers from last year's team. The top returners are junior infielder Alisa Goler, who hit a team-best .455 with 24 homers and 83 RBI, and junior outfielder Taylor Schlopy, who batted .406 with 15 home runs, 47 runs batted in and 21 stolen bases. As a team, the Bulldogs hit 85 home runs last season, batting .319 and averaging 6.3 runs per game with 78 stolen bases. In the circle, Georgia loses 26-game winner Christie Hamilton, so the ace duties fall to junior Sarah McCloud, who went 17-2 with a 2.89 ERA and 58 strikeouts in 131 innings last season. The Bruins lead the all-time series with the Bulldogs 10-1. UCLA won the first five in the series, and since a 4-1 loss during the first game of the 2005 Super Regionals, the Bruins have claimed the last five contests. Just three of the 11 matchups have been on neutral sites, with the rest played at Easton Stadium. UCLA is 3-0 in neutral-site games. The last meetings came during the 2008 Super Regionals, as the Bruins swept the Bulldogs 6-1 and 6-0 (May 24 and 25). Megan Langenfeld is 2-for-4 (.500) with three RBI and three walks for her career against the Bulldogs, GiOnna DiSalvatore is 4-for-9 (.444) with a home run and six runs batted in and Samantha Camuso is 3-for-7 (.429) with four walks.
SCOUTING THE KNIGHTS
UCF, formerly known as Central Florida, went 27-27 last season and finished fifth in Conference USA. The Knights return 10 letterwinners, seven starters and three pitchers from last year's squad. The top returning hitter is senior shortstop Tiffany Lane, who hit .350 in 2009 with eight triples, four home runs and 27 runs batted in. Junior catcher/utility Abby McClain batted .333 with a team-best five homers and 26 RBI last season. As a team, the Knights hit .269 with 19 homers and 35 steals, averaging 3.6 runs per game. Senior Ashleigh Cole returns as the ace of the Knights' staff after going 17-8 a year ago with a 2.42 earned run average and 106 strikeouts in 188 innings. The Bruins and the Knights have met just once before on Feb. 16, 2007 in Las Vegas, Nev., with UCLA recording a 3-0 victory. Megan Langenfeld and Kaila Shull each had two hits in that contest, as Langenfeld pitched a three-hitter with five strikeouts.
SCOUTING THE OWLS
Florida Atlantic went 30-30 a season ago, placing seventh in the Sun Belt Conference. The Owls bring back 11 letterwinners, six starters and all four pitchers from last year's squad. Senior shortstop Blair Bodenmiller is the top returning hitter for FAU, as she hit .275 with a team-best eight home runs, 22 RBI and 17 stolen bases last season. As a team, Florida Atlantic hit .237 with 26 homers and 52 stolen bases, averaging 3.1 runs per game. Junior Rose Gressley and sophomore Carrie Ann Porter are the top two pitchers coming back for the Owls. Porter had a team-best 1.92 earned run average to go along with a 6-7 mark and 75 strikeouts in 109 1/3 innings, while Gressley was 9-13 with a 2.27 ERA and 75 strikeouts in 139 innings. The Bruins have won both matchups with the Owls, with each of them played in Florida. On Feb. 6, 2000 in Tampa, UCLA claimed a 7-3 victory, while on Feb. 21, 2003 in Boca Raton, the Bruins won 7-0.
SCOUTING THE LADY VOLS
Tennessee opens the year ranked 16th by the NFCA and 18th by USA Softball. The Lady Vols return nine letterwinners, seven starters and two pitchers from last year's squad that went 40-18-1 and 2-2 in Regionals. Tennessee hit .303 last season with 44 home runs and 118 stolen bases, averaging 5.3 runs per game. Senior catcher/first base Tiffany Huff led the team with a .399 average and 67 RBI last season, adding eight home runs and 11 stolen bases. Sophomore third base/pitcher Jessica Spigner was the top home run hitter a year ago with 14, while junior outfielder Kelly Grieve had a team-best 39 stolen bases with a .393 average. Sophomore Cat Hosfield paced the pitching staff with a 28-13 record, a 2.67 ERA and 221 strikeouts in 257 1/3 innings. UCLA leads the all-time series with Tennessee 5-3, but the Lady Vols have won the last two. The last matchup came at the Palm Springs Classic when Tennessee won 6-1 on Feb. 23, 2007. All eight matchups have come at neutral sites. The Bruins won five in a row from 2000 to 2005, with their last victory coming in Oklahoma City on June 3, 2005.
SCOUTING THE WOLVERINES
Michigan begins the season ranked fourth by the NFCA and third by USA Softball. The Wolverines posted a 47-12 record last season, going 6-2 in the postseason and earning a trip to the Women's College World Series. Michigan returns 15 letterwinners, eight starters and two pitchers from last year's squad. Offensively, the Wolverines hit .288 with 53 home runs and 50 stolen bases, averaging 5.3 runs per game. Sophomore utility Amanda Chidester led the team with a .350 average, adding eight home runs and 38 RBI. Junior first baseman Dorian Shaw was the top home run hitter with 14 a year ago. In the circle, the Wolverines employ the tough lefty-righty combo of senior Nikki Nemitz and junior Jordan Taylor. Nemitz went 28-7 with a 1.07 ERA and 306 strikeouts in 215 1/3 innings last year, while Taylor was 19-5 with a 1.40 ERA and 285 strikeouts in 190 1/3 innings. UCLA leads the all-time series with Michigan 9-5-1, but the Wolverines won last year's matchup on Feb. 14 in Las Vegas 7-4. GiOnna DiSalvatore went 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBI, while Julie Burney also had two hits. The Bruins' last win against the Wolverines was a 6-4, 10-inning triumph at Easton Stadium on March 15, 2006. The teams have met nine times on neutral turf, with each squad winning four times and tying once.