Dec. 5, 2013
By Geoff Thurner
FRESNO, Calif. - Barely two months away from its 37th season opener, the Fresno State softball team unveiled an impressive 2014 spring schedule that features many of the nation's top teams.
Among the Bulldogs' 56 games against 35 opponents, its non-conference slates features five WCWS returnees in 2013 national runner-up Tennessee, Arizona State, Nebraska, Texas and Washington.
In the opening months of the year, Fresno State will face another Super Regional advancer (Oregon), a seventh NCAA Regional Finalist (N.C. State) and five other NCAA tourney qualifiers (Arizona, BYU, Houston, San Diego State and San Jose State).
Overall, the `Dogs will play 17 contests against 12 squads that advanced to last year's 64-team NCAA tournament field (not to mention four teams that have combined for 12 national titles in their school histories).
"We are really excited about this year's schedule," Fresno State softball head coach Trisha Ford said. "It provides us with opportunities to face several NCAA-tested and top-25 teams to prepare us for Mountain West Conference play."
On Friday, February 7, Fresno State kicks off the season vs. returning Pac-12 Champion Oregon with the first of five Kajikawa Classic tournament games in Tempe, Ariz.
In subsequent weeks, area fans can cheer on their favorite team at home at Bulldog Diamond at a pair of tournaments - the Fresno State Kick-Off (February 14-16) and Fresno State Classic (March 13-16).
Fresno State's 32-game non-conference slate also includes three other early-season California tournaments - the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic (Cathedral City, February 21-23), San Diego State Classic (February 28-March 2) and Judi Garman Classic (Fullerton, March 6-9).
Fresno State's first weekend of conference play is on the road at Boise State (March 21-23), and its first MW home action is the following weekend vs. Utah State (March 28-30).
The Bulldogs' other three-game conference home stands feature returning league champion San Diego State (April 11-13), UNLV (April 25-27) and Colorado State (May 2-4), and road trips to New Mexico (April 4-6), San Jose State (April 22-23) and Nevada (May 8-10).
"This schedule is going to elevate our play," Ford said. "We return several of our starters from last year, and add several talented freshmen that we expect to make a difference for us this year."
Seeking an NCAA record 31st NCAA postseason appearance, the `Dogs will vie to be among the 64 teams part of NCAA Regional play at 16 sites nationally on Thursday-Sunday, May 15-18.
Super Regional action follows the next weekend at eight sites, Thursday-Saturday, May 23-25, and the Women's College World Series, returns to Oklahoma City, Okla., from Thursday-Wednesday, May 29-June 4.
A complete schedule is available via the link at the top of the page.
Coming off their first season under Ford, the Bulldogs went 30-24 in 2013 and placed second in the MW with an 11-7 mark.
2014 Schedule Breakdown
2013 World Series Runner-up (1 team, 2 games) - Tennessee (2x)
Other 2013 World Series Returnees (4 teams, 4 games) - Arizona State, Nebraska, Texas, Washington
Other 2013 Super Regional Returnees (1 team, 1 game) - Oregon
Other 2013 NCAA Regional Finalists (1 team, 1 game) - N.C. State
Other 2013 NCAA Tournament Advancers (5 teams, 9 games) - Arizona, BYU, Houston, San Diego State (3x), San Jose State (3)
2013 Non-Tournament Qualifiers (23 teams, 39 games) - Appalachian State, Boise State (3x), Cal Poly, CSU Bakersfield, Cal State Fullerton, Colorado State (3x), Grand Canyon, Illinois-Chicago, Long Beach State, LIU-Brooklyn, Nevada (3x), New Mexico (3x), New Mexico State, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Pacific (2x), Sacramento State, Saint Mary's (2), San Diego, Southern Utah, Virginia, UC Riverside (2x), UC Santa Barbara, UNLV (3x), Utah State (3x)
- www.GoBulldogs.com -
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