Monday, October 7, 2013

Opponents, times set for 2014 Palm Springs tourney

The complete (and revised) schedule for the 2014 Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in Palm Springs has been unveiled, and it contains some marquee games for Mountain West teams.

Among the highlights:

Fresno State will take on perennial powerhouse Arizona in what amounts to a rematch of the 1998 NCAA championship game, won by the Bulldogs.  Coach Trisha Ford's squad will open the tourney against the Wildcats, and play four teams from power conferences, including SEC power and 2013 Women's College World Series qualifier Tennessee.  Fresno State will also tangle with Big 12 power Texas, which advanced to the WCWS a year ago.  The Bulldogs and Longhorns have a history of meeting in Palm Springs, with Fresno State knocking off Texas twice previously in the tournament.

Coach Erin Thorpe and Boise State will meet defending national champion Oklahoma, which arrives in Palm Springs without one of the best pitchers in NCAA history.  Former national Player of the Year Keilani Ricketts has graduated, but the Sooners (who went a staggering 57-4 in 2013) are sure to remain a force behind coach Patty Gasso.

Defending Mountain West champion San Diego State and head coach Kathy Van Wyk will take on two teams that advanced to Super Regional action in 2013, facing Missouri and Texas A&M.

New Mexico, under the leadership of coach Erica Beach, will face 12-time national champion UCLA among its five opponents.  And UNLV is a late tourney addition, facing the potentially weakest slate in the field.  The Rebels will not face a team from one of the nation's major conferences in the tourney.

The schedules for Mountain West teams in Palm Springs:

Thursday, February 20
12:30 pm - Boise State vs. Oregon State
3 pm - San Diego State vs. Fordham
5:30 pm - Boise State vs. Oklahoma
8 pm - San Diego State vs. Texas A&M

Friday, February 21
10:30 am - New Mexico vs. LIU Brooklyn
1 pm - New Mexico vs. CS Northridge
5:30 pm - Fresno State vs. Arizona
8:30 pm - San Diego State vs. Missouri
8:30 pm - Boise State vs. Pacific

Saturday, February 22
9:30 am - Fresno State vs. Texas
10 am - UNLV vs. UC Davis
12 pm - Fresno State vs. Virginia
12:30 pm - San Diego State vs. Northwestern
3 pm - UNLV vs. LIU Brooklyn
7:30 pm - New Mexico vs. Long Beach State
8 pm - Boise State vs. Cal State Fullerton

Sunday, February 23
9 am - Boise State vs. Nebraska
11:30 am - New Mexico vs. Cal Poly
11:30 am - Fresno State vs. LIU Brooklyn
2 pm - UNLV vs. Cal Poly
2 pm - New Mexico vs. UCLA
4:30 pm - Fresno State vs. Tennessee
4:30 pm - San Diego State vs. Oklahoma State
4:30 pm - UNLV vs. Cal State Northridge