No. 23 Softball Opens Regular Season On Friday At Southern Utah Tournament

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Jan. 29, 2003

CORVALLIS, Ore. -

No. 23 SOFTBALL OPENS 2003 SEASON AT SOUTHERN UTAH TOURNAMENT; BEAVERS HIT THE ROAD FOR ST. GEORGE, UTAH

THUNDERBIRD CANYON PARK CLASSIC
Friday, Jan. 31: OSU vs. BYU - 12 p.m., St. George, Utah
Saturday, Feb. 1: OSU at Southern Utah - 11:30 a.m., St. George, Utah
Saturday, Feb. 1: OSU vs. St. Mary's - 1:30 p.m., St. George, Utah
Sunday, Feb. 2: OSU vs. Cal Poly - 9 a.m., St. George, Utah
-all times Pacific-

HOW OSU HAS FARED AT THE SOUTHERN UTAH TOURNAMENT: Oregon State will kick off its season for the third year in a row at the Southern Utah Tournament. In two previous appearances at the tourney, the Beavers have posted a 6-2 mark. OSU reeled off three victories in 2002, when it defeated San Diego (9-1), host Southern Utah (8-0), and St. Mary's (7-0). The Beavers lost a 4-1 decision to Brigham Young in the 2002 season opener.

SCOUTING BYU: The Cougars return 16 letterwinners and eight starters from 2002. BYU went 30-23 on the season and placed fifth in the Mountain West Conference with a 6-10 record. Head coach Gordon Eakin will take the helm for his first season at BYU. BYU returns a trio of pitchers with a combined 3.26 ERA and 77 innings of experience. Cynthia Fallowfield heads the list of returners after posting a 12-7 record and 3.36 ERA in 2002. Sophomore Niki Anderson returns after hurling 74 strikeouts and posting a 2.92 ERA in 112.2 innings pitched last season. Junior Oli Keohohou will be the biggest threat at the plate, after finishing last season with a .422 batting average, 18 home runs, and 45 RBI.

OSU AND BYU SERIES NOTES: Oregon State will face the Cougars in their season opener for the third straight year. The Beavers hold a 3-1 advantage on the Cougars in the win-loss column with all four battles coming under the direction of head coach Kirk Walker. BYU won last season's opener (Feb. 2) by a score of 4-1. The Beavers tallied nine hits in the contest but the Cougars took advantage of three OSU errors to earn the victory. In the teams second meeting, Oregon State responded with a 3-1 victory at the UNLV Tournament (Feb. 15). Senior centerfielder Michelle Chariton went 2-for-3 with two runs scored. The victory extended a nine-game winning streak for the Beavers.

SCOUTING ST.MARY'S: St. Mary's is led by second-year head coach Trisha Dean who directed the Gaels to a 17-37 record in 2002. The Gaels return 14 letterwinners and seven starters, including all three of their starting pitchers. Junior righthander Jennifer Eaton returns as the leader on the mound, she finished 2002 with 80 strike outs and a 3.74 ERA in 68.2 innings pitched. The Gaels most dangerous returner with the bat is junior Tiffany Redding who finished second on the team in hits last season with 43. Redding also tallied a .251 batting average with 18 RBI.

OSU AND ST. MARY'S SERIES NOTES: OSU has compiled a decisive 12-3 advantage over St. Mary's in the win-loss column, including a perfect 10-0 mark during head coach Kirk Walker's tenure. The two teams last meeting came in 2002 when the Beavers soundly defeated the Gaels 7-0 on Feb. 3 in the Southern Utah Tournament. Hurler Crystal Draper recorded 12 strikeouts and allowed just one hit in the contest, while Clare Burnum belted two doubles and Brynnen Guthrie added three hits.

SCOUTING SOUTHERN UTAH: The host Thunderbirds return 13 letterwinners and eight starters from a team that went 26-27 on the season and finished tied for third with a 12-8 record in the Mid-Continent Conference. Head coach Laurel Simmons returns for her fifth season with SUU and has a 87-148 record with the school. The Thunderbirds return top pitcher Lacee Leprey in the circle. Leprey put-up impressive numbers in 2002 when she tallied a 16-12 record with 197 strikeouts and a 2.44 ERA in 197.2 innings pitched. Leprey also excels at the plate, leading the team with 34 RBI, four homeruns and a .335 batting average last season. April Cox, a senior utility player, is also dangerous from the plate, hitting .328 with 23 RBI.

OSU AND SOUTHERN UTAH SERIES NOTES: OSU is 4-1 against Southern Utah under the direction of head coach Kirk Walker and holds a 6-4 advantage all-time. The Beavers and Thunderbirds last faced each other on Feb. 3, 2002 at the Southern Utah Tournament. The Beavers pounded 11 hits in their 8-0 victory and Monica Hoffman recorded 10 strikeouts.

SCOUTING CAL POLY: Longtime coach Lisa Boyer will lead the Mustangs into action for her 15th season. Boyer has a 292-311 all-time record and led Cal Poly to a 25-29 mark last season, including going 8-16 in the Big West. The Mustangs return 15 letterwinners and five starters. The pitching staff is led by juniors Jen Graver and Jamie Gelbart. Graver posted a 8-10 mark with a 1.53 ERA while Gelbart hurled an 8-3 record with a 2.43 ERA. Junior Erin Sparrey and senior Holly Ballard will be looked upon to provide the bulk of the offense. Ballard hit .293 with two home runs and 16 RBI. Sparrey hit .293 with two home runs and 17 RBI.

OSU AND CAL POLY SERIES NOTES: The Beavers have faced Cal Poly five times in series history and have a 2-3 all-time record versus the Mustangs. Head coach Kirk Walker has led OSU to both of its victories over the Mustangs and has a 2-1 record against Cal Poly during his time at Oregon State. The Beavers and Mustangs last met on March 9, 2001 in the Fresno State Tournament. The game was a scoreless tie at the end of regulation but Cal Poly recorded the 3-2 9-inning victory. Shelly Prochaska led the Beavers with a 2-for-3 effort from the plate.

RANKED AGAIN: Oregon State's softball program opens the 2003 season ranked 23rd in the nation in the latest USA Today/NFCA Top 25 poll. The Beavers finished the 2002 campaign with a No. 24 ranking. Seven Pacific-10 Conference teams appear in the inaugural poll with UCLA, Arizona and California taking the top three spots, respectively. Washington falls at No. 6 while Arizona State and Stanford are No. 13 and No. 14.

FOUR MORE: Oregon State's softball program has made four consecutive NCAA Regional Tournament appearances, recorded four straight 40-plus win seasons and has been ranked in the final Top 25 poll four years in a row.

NUMBERS BREAKDOWN: Oregon State returns nine players from last season's squad that finished with a 40-25 overall record and made its fourth consecutive NCAA Regional Tournament appearance. Five seniors, who have contributed in three postseason appearances, dot the roster; Steph Adams, Clare Burnum, Brynnen Guthrie, Cara Maxey, and Shelly Prochaska. Seven newcomers join the mix for 2003.

WHAT'S IN STORE: Oregon State will rely heavily on the bats of seniors Brynnen Guthrie and Clare Burnum. Guthrie led the Beavers from the plate in 2002 with a .342 batting average and 25 RBI. Burnum matched the OSU single season doubles record with 17 as a junior and hit .296 as the lone player to start every game. Junior hurler Monica Hoffman will lead the Beavers from the circle. Hoffman, the lone returning pitcher, recorded a school record three no-hitters in 2002 and boasting a team-best 1.42 ERA.

PITCHING IS KEY: According to OSU head coach Kirk Walker, 'Returning Monica for her junior year is going to be the basis for our entire staff and team. She comes back with a ton of experience in both the Pac-10 and postseason. We are going to look to her to be the go-to player.'

QUOTING WALKER, AGAIN: 'All of the tools are in place. We will be relying a lot on Monica's experience in Pac-10 and postseason but she's ready for that, and I think there's no reason to believe that won't be a formula for success. Given the opportunity with the team to gel and hopefully make some strides, I think we have more than enough talent to make a run at the College World Series.'

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: Oregon State will spend its first six weeks of the season at tournaments across the country. The Beavers don't open play in the friendly confines of the OSU Softball Complex until March 15, when they host rival University of Oregon.

WATCH US:
BRYNNEN GUTHRIE:
Guthrie, a senior, earned honorable mention All-Pac-10 honors in 2002. The Roseburg High School grad led the Beavers in batting last season with a .342 average and 25 RBI. Her .455 clip from the plate led all players at the NCAA Regional Tournament in Iowa City, allowing her to capture All-Regional Tournament honors. Guthrie also earned second team All-Pacific Region accolades at the conclusion of 2002.

CLARE BURNUM: Burnum enters her senior season as the lone Beaver player to have started all 65 games a year ago. The third baseman tied the OSU single season record for doubles with 17 and hit over .300 for most of the season before finishing with a .296 clip from the plate. Burnum led the squad in on base percentage (.376) and stolen bases (10-for-13). She earned second team All-Pac-10 honors in 2002 to follow up an honorable mention selection as a sophomore.

MONICA HOFFMAN: Junior hurler Monica Hoffman returns as the only experienced pitcher on the Beaver staff. She finished the 2002 campaign with a school record three no-hitters and boasted a team-best 1.42 ERA to go along with a 14-9 record. Hoffman earned honorable mention All-Pac-10 honors for her success.

SHELLY PROCHASKA: Prochaska enters her senior season as one of the most experienced players on the team, having seen action in more games (193) than any other Beaver player. Her name can be found throughout the OSU career record book as she ranks in the top 10 in seven different career statistical batting categories.

STEPH ADAMS: Adams, a versatile senior, will start in the outfield for the Beavers and provide power from the plate. The North Medford High grad ranks second on the OSU all-time list for career home runs with 17. Adams has belted the game-winning home run in a pair of contests during the last two years.

CARA MAXEY: Maxey enters her senior season as the starting centerfielder for the Beavers. The Fresno, CA native has three years of postseason experience and ranks in a tie for ninth place in the OSU record book with five home runs in her career.

QUICK HITS:
SHANNON SORG:
Sorg enters her junior season after redshirting the 2002 campaign. She saw action in 43 games in 2001 and earned second team Pac-10 All-Academic honors.

ALANA MENDOZA: Mendoza will redshirt the 2003 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in the offseason. Mendoza injured her right elbow against Stanford on May 10. A full recovery is expected.

KELLY PETERSEN: Petersen returns for her sophomore season after starting 64 games at shortstop in 2002. She finished her freshman year with a .206 batting average and her 11 sacrifices ranked in a tie for fifth place on the OSU single season charts.

ERIN BEQUETTE: Bequette joins the Beavers after redshirting the 2002 campaign. The Hermiston High grad was the Inner Mountain Conference Player of the Year and was named Gatorade Softball Player of the Year for the state of Oregon in 2001.

DENA DUBOIS: DuBois, a junior, joins the Beavers after transferring from Mount San Antonio College where she earned second team All-Southwest Conference honors.

LISA ALLEN: Allen, a freshman from Canby, OR., was a member of the 2001 Oregon 4A State Championship team and was a first team All-State selection as a senior. The catcher/first baseman was a high school teammate of Beaver senior Clare Burnum.

ADRIENNE ALO: Alo looks to see playing time in the outfield for the Beavers as a freshman. She was a four-time first team All-Marine League selection while playing for Carson High in Carson, CA.

VANESSA IAPALA: Iapala, from Bonita Vista High School in San Diego, CA, was a four-time All-CIF and All-Metro League first team pick. She earned CIF Division I Player of the Year honors in 2002 and was invited to the USA Softball Junior National Team Camp. She will see playing time at catcher or first base for the Beavers.

AMY KLEVER: Klever joins the Beavers as a freshman pitcher from Rex Putnam High School in Milwaukee, OR. She was named the Three Rivers League Player of the Year in 2002 and recorded a 15-1 league pitching record with 13 shutouts.

SARAH TOMMASINI: Tommasini is a freshman from Douglas HIgh School in Winston, OR. She was named the Far West League Most Valuable Player as a junior and was a first team All-State pick in 2001. The 5-5 speedster's sister Rachel, is a senior on the University of Oregon's squad.

WE'RE HONORED: Several players return with honors from 2002. Senior Clare Burnum was a second team All-Pac-10 pick. Senior Brynnen Guthrie earned honorable mention All-Pac-10 honors as well as being named a second team All-Pacific Region selection, and earning NCAA All-Regional tournament accolades. Junior Monica Hoffman was selected as an honorable mention All-Pac-10 pick.

CRYSTAL DRAPER MAKES GREEK NATIONAL TEAM: Former Oregon State softball pitcher Crystal Draper earned a spot on the Greek National Softball Team and will compete in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. Arizona State softball coach Linda Wells will lead the Greek squad. Draper was an integral part in OSU's four consecutive NCAA Regional Tournament appearances (1999-2002), as well as being a three-time All-Regional Tournament selection. Draper is ranked in nine different career pitching categories at OSU, highlighted by her OSU record 809 career strikeouts, her name can also be found on 10 in 14 single season categories. Draper will become the 38th Oregon State athlete to compete in the Olympic Games.

ISN'T IT WINTER?: Oregon State's January 31 season opener against BYU at the Southern Utah Tournament marks the earliest start in school history. Heading into 2003, Oregon State had not started its season prior to February 2. OSU has compiled a 12-16 all-time record in its season openers and is an even 4-4 under the direction of head coach Kirk Walker.

BATTLING THE TOP 25: Oregon State played 26 games against teams that were ranked in the Top 25 during the 2002 season and garnered victories in eight contests. Thirty-four percent of OSU's opponents (12-of-35) were nationally ranked a year ago. The Beavers held a Top 25 ranking throughout the season.

PAC-10 POWER: Seven of the eight Pacific-10 Conference squads finished the 2002 season ranked in the final May 6 USA Today/NFCA Poll, a listing follows: 1. California, 2. Arizona , 3. Arizona State, 5. UCLA, 14. Washington 24, Oregon State. For the second consecutive year, the Pac-10 had a pair of teams compete in the Women's College World Series (California and Arizona). California won its first softball national championship in 2002.

PAC-10 COACHES POLL: In a poll voted on by the Pac-10 coaches, Oregon State has been tabbed to finish seventh in the conference. Last year's regular season champion, UCLA, has been picked to finish first.

2003 BEAVER SOFTBALL CLINIC: Oregon State recently completed its winter softball clinic (Jan. 18-19). The OSU coaching staff, alumni, and the 2003 squad taught skills to over 200 youth. The clinic included, hitting, fielding, throwing and mental training. Alumni returning to take part in the clinic were Tarrah Beyster, Crystal Draper, Jodi Chmielewski, Shawna Feldt, and Michelle Chariton.

IN THE DUGOUT: Fifth-year assistant Jenny Condon was promoted to associate head coach during the summer of 2002. Condon helped lead the Beavers to their first NCAA Regional Tournament appearance in 1999. After a one-year stint at UNLV during the 2000 season, Condon rejoined the Beaver staff. Crissy Buck ,a former player for the 1999 NCAA Champion UCLA Bruins, joins the Beavers for her first season as assistant coach. A four-year letterwinner, Buck graduated from UCLA in 2002. Traci Feldt is also a new edition to the coaching staff and joins the team as a student assistant coach for the 2003 season. Feldt has called pitches for three Oregon State no-hitters - the most of any Beaver catcher.

THE WORD ON WALKER: Head coach Kirk Walker is in his ninth season at the helm for the Beavers. Walker, a graduate of UCLA, has turned around Oregon State's softball program to make it a contender on a national scale. Walker has led the Beavers to four consecutive NCAA Regional Tournament appearances. The winningest coach in program history, Walker, has an overall coaching record of 255-233-3 and a 59-138 mark in the Pacific-10 Conference. Walker has been selected as one of just 12 coaches named to the USA Softball National Team Coaches Pool, and has a chance to coach in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. Prior to his arrival at Oregon State, Walker spent 11 seasons at national powerhouse UCLA as a manager and assistant coach. During his time in Westwood, the Bruins won six NCAA titles and made 10 appearances in the College World Series.

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