Fresno State 2009 Schedule Announced
Oct. 8, 2008
FRESNO, Calif. - Head softball coach Margie Wright and Fresno State announced the 2009 schedule which features 16 teams who participated in the 2008 NCAA Tournament, 11 who finished in the NFCA top 25 poll, four receiving votes and three teams that participated in the Women's College World Series.
"I think this is one of the toughest schedules we have had and it definitely should move our RPI up into the top 10, at least for the pre-season," said Wright.
The Bulldogs open the season (Feb. 6-8) at the Cathedral City Kick-off Tournament hosted by Oregon State in Cathedral City, Calif., kicking off the season vs. Wisconsin, Southern Illinois and Fordham. The `Dogs also play two opponents they saw in 2008 in Houston and James Madison.
Last season, Houston defeated the Bulldogs twice at Bulldog Diamond while the `Dogs edged the Dukes of JMU in at the San Diego State Classic in nine innings.
"We are having a chance to get back at Houston for sweeping us last year," added Wright.
Fresno State gets a tournament break when it heads north for the only time this season, for a double-header at Pacific on Valentines Day. The Bulldogs swept Pacific on opening weekend in 2008.
It's back to Cathedral City for the `Dogs, Feb. 19-22, for the Cathedral City Classic where the schedule gets a lot tougher. Fresno State opens the tournament with the 2008 WCWS Runner-Up Florida Gators, followed by games against Maryland, North Carolina, Northwestern and UCLA, all of which, minus Maryland, were NCAA Tournament participants.
"I think there are three games in particular that really stand out to me," Wright added. "One is Florida because they were at the WCWS last year and finished second. They had a great year and that's where we would've gone had we won our Regional, so I am anxious to play them.
I think UCLA is in my opinion has been big rivalry for Fresno State over the years as well so those games are always close and fun to watch."
The following weekend, the Bulldogs play at the Long Beach State Tournament when they take on Iowa State, Wisconsin once again, Cal State Northridge and the host 49ers. Last year at the Judi Garman Classic, Fresno State defeated Long Beach State 2-0.
After a month of being on the road, the Bulldogs home opener at Bulldog Diamond is on March 5 hosting the Bingham-Toyota Classic. BYU, Providence, Northern Illinois and Cal will all participate.
Cal defeated the Bulldogs in the final game of the Regional at Bulldog Diamond to earn the trip to Super Regionals last season.
"The third game that really stands out to me is Cal," Wright added. "I think playing Cal again is definitely a team we want to play better that what we have done in the past."
The final pre-season tournament is the Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, Calif., March 12-15. One of the most notable tournaments, which usually is compiled of teams ranked high in the top 25 poll, is one that the Bulldogs won last year with a perfect 5-0 record. Just like last season, the `Dogs will take on Michigan at that tournament and also see the likes of Florida State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Washington and DePaul.
"We will get to see teams from the Big 10, Pac 10, SEC, Big East and all the top conferences several times as we go through our season," said Wright. "I think the first five tournaments we are in are going to be in are very difficult but will also be very telling as to what we are going to need to do in order to succeed in the post season after the WAC Championships. Playing teams like Florida, Northwestern, UCLA, Long Beach State, Cal, BYU, Michigan, Florida State, ULL, Washington and DePaul, you are definitely playing the best of the best. We know we need to do that and that's the way for us to go in order to keep our RPI up high and hopefully we can beat a lot of those teams."
Utah Valley State, new to Division I, will travel to the Valley for a non-conference double-header on March. 18, before the Bulldogs open conference play at home two days later vs. San Jose State.
"Conference play is tough for us because we have won it so many times that there is definitely a target on our backs," Wright added. "Since we didn't do as well last year in conference, one of our team goals is to win the tournament since we are hosting it. I think because of what happened last year and having so many returners, I think this team has a better understanding of what it is going to take to be able to accomplish every goal that we have in every part of our season."
During a stretch of three-straight home series', UC Davis visits for a non-conference double-header March 24.
Fresno State then hits the road in the WAC for the first time as they travel to New Mexico State (March 27-28) before hosting Hawai'i and UC Santa Barbara the first week of April.
It's then on to Ruston, La., as the Bulldogs take on last year's WAC Tournament Champion Lady Techsters from La. Tech (April 10-11) and then return home to host the 2008 WAC regular season champion Nevada (April 17-18) in the home finale.
Fresno State concludes WAC play on the road at Boise State (April 24-25) and Utah State (May 1-2). The Broncos will play their inaugural season this year after just adding the sport last year.
The 2008 WAC Tournament returns to Fresno State, May 5-9, after being at Hawai'i last season.
"It's always an advantage to have the WAC Tournament on your on field," Wright added. "I think it's a big advantage for anyone in our conference to host it because it's generally the last week of school or finals week and it's an advantage to sleep in your own bed and have a little sense of normalcy on your day-to-day schedule."
"Join the State- Fresno State!" - For information on the Fresno State softball team in the off season log on to www.gobulldogs.com.