Feb. 3, 2014
Long Beach, Calif. -
Long Beach State Softball Weekly Release
Long Beach State will host two tournaments during the 2014 season, starting off with opening week with the Mizuno Invitational at the 49er Softball Complex, while sharing duties with Cal State Fullerton. The tournament starts Thursday, Feb. 6, with two games against No. 12 Kentucky and Santa Clara.
The Last Meeting
|Long Beach State||10
February 15, 2008
Softball Evens Record With Rout Of Kentucky
Jennifer Griffin had three hits and scored two runs as the 49ers cruised to a run-rule victory over Kentucky 10-2 in six innings. Brooke Turner went the distance for the 49ers, picking up her second win while striking out three.
The Last Meeting
|Long Beach State||6
February 14, 2010
Las Vegas, Nev.
The 49ers received eight points in the first Top 25 poll of the season, sitting in an unofficial 34th place overall. LBSU will have plenty of chances to shine however, facing five ranked teams in the tournament season, as well as playing three other teams receiving votes, including one other Big West opponent in Hawai'i.
The early attention the team is receiving is in part because of the team's veteran nature. Long Beach State returns seven position starters and all five pitchers from the 2013 squad that finished 37-20. The 49ers boast 14 upperclassmen and eight seniors, and many of that group will play big roles during the 2014 campaign.
Long Beach State's returning players put up one of the best offensive seasons in school history over the 2013 season. The 49ers set team records for batting average (.288), runs scored (266), RBI (237) and home runs (53). The 49ers also had six offensive players earn All-Big West honors, while Shayna Kimbrough was named the Big West Player of the Year and Darian Tautalafua was the Big West Freshman Player of the Year.
Long Beach State will open the season against No. 12 Kentucky, in a series that the 49ers lead 3-1, with all four meetings coming in the last ten years. Santa Clara is the most common opponent of the four teams LBSU faces in the opening weekend - the 49ers lead that series 8-1 in the nine times the teams have met. The 49ers will have two more meetings against Kent State in a series LBSU leads 2-0, while Friday's game with George Washington marks the first time that the two teams have met.
WHAT'S THE SCORE
All games played at the 49er Softball Complex can be followed via Gametracker at www.longbeachstate.com, the home of Long Beach State athletics.
Long Beach State has a number of players looking at career marks during the 2014 season. Foremost among the offensive players is senior Hannah De Gaetano. Her .334 batting average is the best career mark in school history entering the season, as the infielder has hit over .300 in all three seasons with The Beach. De Gaetano is also within reach of the school's career Top 10 in hits, doubles, RBI, and walks, while she already ranks 7th in school history with 13 home runs.
While De Gaetano ranks 7th in career home runs at Long Beach State; she is not alone in the power surge among this year's 49ers. Senior Karli Sandoval leads the group with 15 career home runs, tied for 5th with 15 home runs, while Darian Tautalafua's outstanding freshman campaign of 13 homers is tied with De Gaetano for 7th.
Shayna Kimbrough's Big West Player of the Year season in 2013 was based in large part in a LBSU 2nd-place season batting average of .374 in 2013; the junior shortstop enters her third season at Long Beach State with a career batting average of .326, just behind De Gaetano's mark and one that would also be a school record if it remained the same following her career.
Much of the 49ers success will depend on the right arm of senior Erin Jones-Wesely. Already one of the 49ers' most successful pitchers in school history, Jones-Wesley will look to continue to climb the record books while also attempting to win a second Big West Pitcher of the Year award, to match the honor she earned as a frehsman in 2011. A three-time All-Big West selection, Jones-Wesley can become just the seventh 4-time first-team All-Big West pick and the second at Long Beach State.
Jones-Wesley is within reach of two major school records by just maintaining her career averages. The senior could set both the school's career wins and strikeout records, where she already ranks in the Top 5 entering her final season. She needs 15 wins and 95 strikeouts to set both records, marks she has passed in all three of her first three seasons at Long Beach State.
Big West records are also within reach for the senior. 68 wins will put Jones-Wesley in the conference Top 10, while 645 strikeouts will make her the first 49er in the Top 10 in Ks in the conference.
THIS AND THAT
Long Beach State has 788 combined offensive games started from a veteran group ... The staff is also experienced, returning 113 starts just between Erin Jones-Wesley and Amanda Hansen.