Softball Opens Season in Southern California

Boise State softball opens its 2011 campaign at the Long Beach State Round Robin, Feb. 12-13, in Long Beach, Calif. The Broncos will take on Loyola Marymount and Long Beach State in doubleheader action each day. First pitch Saturday, is scheduled for Noon mountain time.

GameTracker will be available during the tournament for the games in which Long Beach State is playing. The Broncos will take on the host 49ers Saturday at approximately 2 p.m. (MT) and Sunday at 10 a.m. (MT).

About the Broncos
Boise State softball is in its third season. Head coach Erin Thorpe and the Broncos return 15 letterwinners and eight starters from the 2010 squad that finished third in the Western Athletic Conference. Boise State won nine of its final 12 conference games last season to roll into the WAC Tournament with the No. 3 seed. The Broncos scored come-from-behind wins to advance to the semifinals, but a pair of one-run losses to Fresno State ended their postseason run.

Boise State was picked to repeat as third-place finishers in the preseason poll voted on by conference coaches.

Junior Allie Crump was selected to the All-WAC Preseason Team as a pitcher. Crump picked up 16 wins to lead the Broncos in 2010.

Junior utility player Kellie Caplan was a second-team All-WAC selection last season.

About the Lions
Loyola Marymount posted a 22-26 record in 2010 and finished fourth in the Pacific Coast Softball Conference Coastal Division.The Lions return 15 letterwinners and seven starters, including PCSC Coastal Division co-Player of the Year Sam Fischer.

LMU was voted second in the preseason Coastal Divion standings and tied with Portland State for the most first-place votes for the overall conference championship.

Fischer, a junior shortstop, set the PCSC single-season record with 16 home runs in 2010.

Sophomore Molly Medeiros returns as the most experienced pitcher, making 29 appearances in the circle last season.

The Series
First meeting.

About the 49ers
Long Beach State finished the 2010 season 26-26 and 10-11 in Big West Conference action. The 49ers were picked to finish fourth in the 2011 Big West preseason poll.

LBSU returns five position starters and the two pitchers who shared most of the workload in 2010, Taylor Petty and Brooke Turner. Petty led the 49ers with a 2.50 ERA and Turner is threatening the school career records in nearly every major statistical pitching category.

The Series
Long Beach State leads 2-1.
Boise State won the first meeting in the series during its inaugural season of 2009, defeating LBSU 5-3 Feb. 20, in San Diego. The 49ers returned the favor a day later, handing the Broncos a 3-1 loss. The teams met again, Feb. 19, 2010, in Las Vegas as LBSU gave Boise State its fourth one-run loss in six games, winning 7-6.

The Broncos and 49ers will square off again, Feb. 19, at the Louisville Slugger Classic in Las Vegas.

Boise State to Face Strong Schedule in 2011
The Broncos' 2011 schedule features 13 games against eight opponents fresh off appearances in the 2010 NCAA Softball Championship. Six of the eight advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals, with three of them ending their seasons in Oklahoma City at the Women's College World Series. The high level of competition is part of Thorpe's plan for building a winning program.

"In our third year we've taken another step forward in our schedule," said Thorpe. "Our goal is to be a team that is competing in the postseason year in and year out. It takes us improving our strength of schedule to be recognized on that level."

Tournaments on Tap Early
The Long Beach State Round Robin is the first of six early-season tournaments featuring Boise State.

"The tournament format is exciting to a lot of teams because you get a lot of different looks early in the season," Thorpe said. "You really get to find out a lot about your team by seeing different opposition nearly every game."

Boise State continues on the tournament circuit with stops at the Louisville Slugger Classic hosted by UNLV (Feb. 18-20) and the UC Riverside Tournament in Riverside, Calif. (Feb. 25-27) before hosting the Boise State SpringHill Suites Invitational (March 4-6).

The Broncos head back on the road for the final two tournaments. The first stop is at the Santa Clara Bronco Classic (March 11-13), followed by the Judi Garman Classic hosted by Cal State Fullerton (March 19-20).

Broncos Tabbed Third in Preseason Poll
Boise State softball will not sneak up on anybody this season. The Broncos were picked to finish third in the Western Athletic Conference in a preseason poll voted on by the conference's coaches. The Broncos tallied 33 points in the poll, behind defending champion Hawai'i (48 points) and Fresno State (43). It is the third time the Rainbow Wahine were picked atop the preseason poll. Boise State finished third in the 2010 WAC regular season after being picked to finish seventh.

Crump Earns Preseason Honor
Junior Allie Crump was selected to the All-WAC Preseason Team as a pitcher. Crump's selection to the preseason all-conference team makes her the second Bronco to earn such recognition. Kathy Cox was voted to the preseason team in 2010. Crump becomes the first Boise State pitcher with the distinction. The Elk Grove, Calif., native earned second-team All-WAC honors in 2010.

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