March 4, 2014
Long Beach, Calif. -
Long Beach State begins a busy week by hosting Lehigh on Wednesday at the 49er Softball Complex on campus, as the Mountain Hawks continue a western swing by facing the 49ers. That game is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. Wednesday's game is also the first game this season outside of tournament play for Long Beach State.
Following Wednesday's game, tournament play will continue for Long Beach State at Cal State Fullerton's annual tournament, the Judi Garman Classic. Play begins for LBSU on Thursday against Fresno State. The 49ers will next play Houston and San Jose State Friday before closing the weekend with single games against Wisconsin on Saturday and Texas on Sunday.
Long Beach State is participating in the Judi Garman Classic for the first time since the 2008 season. The 49ers will not be facing the hosts, Cal State Fullerton, once again as the teams will meet later in the season in Big West play.
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.
Offensively, the team picked up right where they left off this season, hitting .331 overall and closing out four games in run-rule contests. Long Beach State is slugging .534 as a team, with 21 home runs and 21 doubles already on the year. The team has also been balanced, with seven players hitting over .300 to start the year.
Ashley Holmes continues to lead the team offensively through the first month of the year. The junior is hitting Big West best .457 and slugging an unreal .848, with 6 home runs and 20 RBI through 17 games played in 2014.
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. Select visiting games will also be carried with live stats. Gametracker is also now viewable on all tablets and smartphones.
Much of the 49ers success will depend on the right arm of senior Erin Jones-Wesley. 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 freshman 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 also earned Big West Pitcher of the Week honors last week after pitching a complete game shutout in a 4-0 win against Nevada. Jones-Wesley allowed just 3 hits in seven innings, striking out five in one of her best starts of the season. In the process, Jones-Wesley also tied the career Big West Record with her 14th Pitcher of the Week award.
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 10 wins and 48 strikeouts to set both records.
Big West records are also within reach for the senior. Her win over Syracuse, No. 68, entered her into the Top 10, while 645 strikeouts will make her the first 49er in the Top 10 in Ks in the conference.
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