BRUINS OPEN 2014 SEASON IN HAWAI’I
The 13th-ranked Bruins begin the 2014 season this week in Honolulu for the Oceanic Time Warner Cable Paradise Classic on the campus of the University of Hawai’i. UCLA will start off against Delaware on Thursday at 6 p.m. PT, followed by a Friday doubleheader against Hampton (6 p.m. PT) and Hawai’i (10 p.m. PT). The Bruins will play twice more on Saturday in the bracket portion of the tournament. All games will feature live internet audio and live stats on UCLABruins.com. In addition, live updates will be available at twitter.com/uclasoftball.
The Bruins host the Stacy Winsberg Memorial Tournament next weekend (Feb. 14-16). UCLA faces UC Davis (3:30 p.m.) and Robert Morris (6 p.m.) on Friday, Western Kentucky University (12:30 p.m.) and Robert Morris (3:30 p.m.) on Saturday and UC Davis (12 p.m.) on Sunday.
BRUINS IN THE POLLS
UCLA is 13th in the preseason ESPN.com/USA Softball poll and 16th in the preseason USA Today/NFCA rankings, earning 226 and 282 points, respectively. The Bruins were ranked fourth in the Pac-12 preseason coaches poll, receiving 42 points.
NEWS AND NOTES
Head coach Kelly Inouye-Perez is five wins away from 300 for her career ... the Bruins have won each of their last four season openers. During those four season-opening tournaments, UCLA has a 15-2 record ... UCLA has made three trips to Hawai’i (1985, 1991 and 2000), sporting a 12-3 record. In 1985, the Bruins went 3-1, falling to the host team 1-0. In 1991, UCLA went 4-1, beating Hawai’i (3-0), with the lone loss coming to UC Santa Barbara. In 2000, the Bruins went 5-1, beating Hawai’i (9-1), while dropping the last game of the tournament to Hofstra.
SCOUTING THE DELAWARE BLUE HENS
Delaware returns 10 letterwinners, six starters and two pitchers from a 2013 team which went 35-22 overall and 12-9 (4th) in the Colonial Athletic Association. The top returner for the Blue Hens is junior outfielder Jessica Grisler, who hit .365 a year ago with 13 runs batted in and 10 stolen bases. Senior infielder Michelle McKinnon batted .320 with 17 RBI and seven steals. In the circle, sophomore Kiersten Coffman went 9-3 in 2013 with a 3.11 earned run average and 62 strikeouts in 96 2/3 innings of work. The Blue Hens are coached by Jaime Wohlbach, who begins her fourth year and holds a record of 71-97-1 at Delaware, as well as a 125-182-1 mark in six seasons of coaching. The Bruins have never faced the Blue Hens.
SCOUTING THE HAMPTON LADY PIRATES
Hampton made the NCAA Tournament a year ago after winning the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. The Lady Pirates were 16-2 in league play and 34-26 overall and bring back seven letterwinners, four starters and two pitchers from that team. The top hurler is junior Jailynn Jackson, an NFCA Second Team All-Region honoree as a sophomore. She went 25-12 last year with a 2.64 earned run average and 255 strikeouts in 252 innings. At the plate, sophomore first baseman Taylor McCoy batted .389 last year with five home runs and 43 runs batted in, while catcher/shortstop Margaret Wilkins hit .338 with six homers and 32 RBI. Interim head coach Michael Pelegrino is in his first year at Hampton. The Bruins have never faced the Lady Pirates.
SCOUTING THE HAWAI’I RAINBOW WAHINE
Hawai’i enters the 2014 season receiving votes in both national polls. The Rainbow Wahine went 45-13 a year ago and tied for first in the Big West Conference (20-4), going 2-2 in NCAA Regional play. Hawai’i returns 13 letterwinners, six starters and one pitcher from last year’s squad. Three players returning hit over .300 a year ago. Senior second baseman Jazmine Zamora (.337) added six home runs and 29 runs batted in, sophomore outfielder Keiki Carlos (.320) belted seven homers and 32 RBI and junior catcher/first baseman Kayla Wartner (.314) had 11 homers and 37 RBI. Bob Coolen is in his 23rd year as the head coach at Hawai’i and has a record of 843-468-1, as well as a 915-561-1 mark in 27 seasons as a head coach. The Bruins hold a 14-4 advantage all-time against the Rainbow Wahine and have won three straight in the series. The last meeting between the two teams was a year ago in Las Vegas (Feb. 15), as the Bruins crushed Hawai’i 11-1 in five innings. UCLA is 2-1 against Hawai’i in Honolulu. The most recent win for Hawai’i came on May 19, 2007 at Easton Stadium, as the Rainbow Wahine posted a 3-1, eight-inning win.