Broncos Set To Start Inaugural Season at Cathedral City Kickoff

GOBRONCOSDOTCOM
GOBRONCOSDOTCOM

GOBRONCOSDOTCOM
BOISE, Idaho - With spring rapidly approaching, the Boise State softball team is now less than a week away from taking the field. The Broncos' first game in program history will come at the Cathedral City Kickoff in Cathedral City, Calif. where they will play five games in three days. On Friday, Illinois and James Madison will square off with Boise State at 4:30 p.m. (MT) and 7 p.m., respectively. The Broncos will face No. 17-ranked Cal and Fordham on Saturday, followed by an early morning matchup with Wisconsin on Sunday.

BRONCOS CONTINUING GROWTH: Boise State softball is the fourth women’s sport to be added to the Boise State athletic department since 1992. Women’s golf was added during the 1992-93 school year, followed by women’s soccer in 1998. The new century brought the women’s swimming and diving team to Bronco Nation in 2006-07. Softball will see its first official pitch this Friday at 4:30 p.m. (MT).

ABOUT ILLINOIS: Blue and orange will decorate the inaugural game for Boise State softball when they first take on the orange and blue of Illinois...the Illini enter the tournament returning 13 players, including four starters from a 2008 squad that went 30-32, 8-12 (Big Ten)...the Illini offense took a shot with the graduation of their top two hitters from 2008, particularly Angelena Mexicano who knocked 24 homers and hit .369 in 2008...last season, the Illini were ranked 45th in batting average and 23rd in runs scored...the pitching staff put together a 4.48 ERA coupled with a .281 batting average against.

ABOUT JMU: A relatively new program, JMU softball has only been on the scene since 2002...last year, the Dukes went 32-22, 14-6 (Colonial Athletic Assoc.) which put them in third place in the conference...the Dukes are returning 16 players from last year’s team, including eight starters...Amber Kirk is the sole departure from the Dukes starting nine, but leaves a big hole to fill in the lineup...Kirk led the team in nearly every offensive category, including batting average (.324), hits (55), home runs (7) and RBI (33)...on the flip side, the Dukes return half of their pitching staff from 2008 that ranked 39th in the nation in ERA (2.08), including Meredith Felts who led the team with a 1.25 ERA that ranked 26th in the nation.

ABOUT CAL: The Golden Bears are the first ranked team the Broncos will face this year...Cal was ranked No. 17 in the National Fastpitch Coaches Assoc. preseason poll...the Golden Bears will try to improve upon a 43-27, 7-14 (Pac-10) record from 2008...that record includes a 3-1 record at the Fresno Regional (won by the Golden Bears) and a 0-2 record at the Gainesville Super Regional...the Bears return five starters from the 2008 team in addition to all three pitchers...key returnees for the Bears are Valerie Arioto, who led the offensive charge, and Marissa Drewery, who dominated in the circle...Arioto led nearly all major offensive categories with a .324 batting average, 55 runs, 71 hits and 17 doubles...Drewery posted 29 wins, which ranked 18th in the nation, and 1.84 ERA on her way to All-Pac-10 and All-Region honors.

ABOUT FORDHAM: The Rams are coming off a 36-30, 11-9 (Atlantic 10) record from 2008...The Rams also return 11 players and six starters from last year’s squad that reached the Atlantic 10 semifinals...offensively, the Rams return their top three hitters that led the team in virtually every offensive category in 2008 to a .296 team batting average, which ranked 32nd in the nation, and 41 homers...as a team, the Rams also ranked 40th in the nation in scoring and 46th in slugging percentage...in the circle, Allison Twarowski will be the biggest loss for the Rams...Twarowski led the staff with 13 wins, a 1.74 ERA and over 160 innings pitched.

ABOUT WISCONSIN: The Badgers will be looking to rebound from a 15-30, 3-17 (Big Ten) 2008 season that saw them finish at the bottom of their conference...Six starters and both pitchers will return to Wisconsin for the 2009 season...the Badgers hit only .209 as a team in 55 games last year...the pitching staff gave up a combined 4.48 ERA while issuing 191 walks and 40 wild pitches.