Whitney Smith (top) and the Bulldogs host the Fresno State Classic this week. Khlarissa Agee /The Collegian
The temperature is going to heat up this weekend at Bulldog Diamond. Fresno State hosts three teams from the Pac-12 Conference that are each nationally ranked in the Fresno State Classic.
The Bulldogs kick off the tournament on Thursday when they play Iowa State (5 p.m.). Fresno State plays Oregon (6 p.m.) and Oregon State (8:15 p.m.) on Friday, California (8:15 p.m.) on Saturday and Saint Mary’s (1:45 p.m.) on Sunday.
Here is a preview of the teams the Bulldogs will compete against in the Fresno State Classic.
Iowa State (9-6)
Last season: 14-39, 2-22 Big-12
Key players: Senior Erica Miller and junior Liana Henry are hitting .512 and .444, respectively, on the season. The two infielders are part of a Cyclones squad that has seven hitters batting more than .300.
Update: Iowa State is coming off a 2-2 appearance at the Easton Classic in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Fresno State is 4-1 in meetings against the Cyclones.
Last season: 45-18, 13-9 Pac-12
Key player: Short stop Courtney Ceo went 3-for-3 in Oregon’s 8-0 win against Boston College, the Ducks’ fourth shutout of the season. Ceo is hitting .471 on the season.
Update: The 10th-ranked Ducks are on a roll right now, going undefeated at the Citrus Classic in Orlando and winning their six games 62-12. Oregon, which competed in the 2012 NCAA Tournament, has not been successful against the Bulldogs, who own a 29-4 all-time record against the Ducks.
Oregon State (17-4)
Last season: 36-23, 9-14 Pac-12
Key players: Senior Elizabeth Santana and sophomore Dani Gilmore both hit 4-for-4 in the Beavers’ 11-2 win against Cal Poly on Saturday.
Update: Oregon State moved up to No. 23 in the USA Today/NFCA Division I Softball Poll. Former Bulldog great Laura Berg coaches the Beavers.
Last season: 58-7, 21-3 Pac-12
Key player: Senior pitcher Jolene Henderson is 11-2 so far in the season, and has pitched 92 innings. Henderson has a 1.21 ERA and has held opponents to a .170 batting average when in the circle.
Update: The Golden Bears, one season removed from capturing the Pac-12 Conference title and reaching the Women’s College World Series, are on track to make another deep run. Cal is on a 13-game win streak. The Golden Bears will play their first home game of the season today against University of Pacific before heading down to the Fresno State Classic.
Saint Mary’s (4-10)
Last season: 26-23
Key player: Senior catcher Megan Smith is batting a team-high .297 in the season, posting 11 hits in 37 at-bats.
Update: Fresno State will face the Gaels for the second time this season. It was in the first meeting in which Bulldogs pitcher Jill Compton recorded her first no-hitter of her career. Fresno State shut out the Gaels 4-0, and is 14-1 all-time against Saint Mary’s.
Freshman righty Taylor Langdon was named the Mountain West Conference Pitcher of the Week for games through March 3 – becoming the first Fresno State softball student-athlete to earn the honor.
Langdon pitched a career-best 5.2 innings in the Bulldogs’ 8-1 win against University of San Diego.