Softball Heads West to Palm Springs Classic
Spartans put unbeaten streak on the line with second winter tournament.
Feb. 20, 2008
MICHIGAN STATE at the PALM SPRINGS CLASSIC
Dates: Feb. 22-24, 2008
Times: 2/22 vs. #21 UNLV (9-1-1) 1 p.m. Gametracker vs. UNLV
2/22 vs. #23 CSF (4-3-1) 8:30 p.m. Gametracker vs. CSF
2/23 vs. Oregon (5-5) 4 p.m. Gametracker vs. Oregon
2/23 vs. #14 Hawai'i (5-1) 6:30 p.m. Gametracker vs. Hawai'i
2/24 vs. UMass (2-3) 12 p.m. Gametracker vs. UMass
Location: Palm Springs, Calif.
Live Stats: www.msuspartans.com
PDF of Complete Game Notes: Click Here
Michigan State heads to California for the Palm Springs Classic, hosted by Oregon State University, this weekend, Feb. 22-24, when the Spartans will take on No. 21 UNLV, No. 23 Cal State Fullerton, Oregon, No. 14 Hawai'i and Massachusetts.
The 24-team Palm Springs Classic field showcases some of the most prestigious softball programs in the country, with 18 2007 NCAA Tournament teams including three of the eight teams that competed in the 2007 Women's College World Series (Baylor, Arizona, Northwestern). The field also includes 14 NFCA All-Americans and features the USA Softball Team.
This weekend's ranked opponents will be the first of the year for the Spartans. Last year, MSU defeated one Top-25 team, No. 8 Michigan. Michigan State upset its intrastate rival with a 7-0 shutout in the last home game of the season on May 6, 2007.
In their opening tournament, the Spartans swept the Seminole Classic with wins over UAB, 5-1, Bethune-Cookman, 14-2, Jacksonville, 6-5, and host Florida State, 3-2, to claim the tournament title.
Michigan State's 4-0 record ties the 2006 squad for the best start since 1997's team won its first seven games.
Six Spartans were named to the 2008 Seminole Classic All-Tournament team, including freshman P Shae Bass, senior DP Caitlin Mahoney, red-shirt freshman SS Bianca Mejia, senior 3B Traci Nicosia, freshman 1B Heidi Purtzer and junior C Kara Weigle.
The Spartans' 5-1 opening-game win over UAB is the sixth straight, dating back to the 2003 season, and marks head coach Jacquie Joseph's 11th season-opening win while at MSU. In program history, Michigan State is 27-10 in season openers, including Joseph's 11-4 mark.
Freshman hurler Shae Bass opened her collegiate career with a perfect 3-0 mark at the Seminole Classic. She tallied her first career win on Friday, Feb. 16 with a 14-2 victory over Bethune-Cookman, then factored as the pitcher of record against Jacksonville, a 6-5 tally, later that afternoon. On Feb. 17, Bass closed out Michigan State's 6-5 win over Florida State en route to her hat trick weekend.
Catcher Kara Weigle kicked off her junior year with an outstanding performance at the Seminole Classic. Over the four-game stretch, Weigle threw out three opponents attempting to steal second for a solid defensive effort behind the plate. On the other side of the plate, Weigle hit .400 (3H, 3RBI) and scored three times in the Spartans' opening weekend. And while covering the bases offensively, Weigle got the better of her opposing counterparts, arriving safely at second base on both stealing attempts.
Head coach Jacquie Joseph is inching closer to reaching two career milestones this season. With the four wins at the Seminole Classic, Joseph is now just one win shy of totaling 450 while at the helm MSU's softball program. Additionally, Joseph needs just 15 victories to total 600 career wins.
Michigan State debuted six of its seven freshmen at the Seminole Classic for opening weekend. Kristen Aidem, Shae Bass, Jessica Bracamonte and Heidi Purtzer started their first collegiate games while in Tallahassee, Fla., while Karen Fox and Lindsey Hansen came in for mid-game action as well.
Senior pitcher Lesley Noel tallied her 200th career strikeout against Florida State on Feb. 17, 2008. Noel began the year with 190 strikeouts and added 12 from the two games she pitched in the Seminole Classic (seven vs. UAB, five vs. FSU).
SPARTAN SOFTBALL ON TV
The Big Ten Network will nationally televise 25 regular-season softball games and the Big Ten Tournament championship game. Michigan State is slotted to appear three times this spring, twice live and once on tape delay. The Spartans' May 3-4 series at Northwestern will be televised live, while MSU's BTN premier will be a tape-delayed airing of April 12's game at Iowa. The game will be played at 1 p.m. and will be televised at 8 p.m. that same Saturday evening.
NEXT TIME FOR THE SPARTANS
Michigan State heads back to the southeast for its third winter tournament, the Georgia Classic, hosted by the University of Georgia Bulldogs in Athen, Ga. The Spartans are scheduled to play Longwood, Butler and Georgia at the UGA Soccer/Softball Complex on March 1-2.