Although the start of the collegiate softball season does not start until February, the Arizona State softball team has been in the works on its fall schedule with scrimmages around the Valley.
The biggest event this fall for the Sun Devils has centered on hosting the USSSA Pride in a scrimmage match at Farrington Softball Stadium in Tempe, Ariz. last week.
The Pride, a National Pro Fastpitch team from Florida, is participating in exhibition games across the west following its 2015 season. Arizona State was the first stop on that tour.
The Pride’s roster featured former ASU softball players Dallas Escobedo and Amber Freeman. The game itself featured a pitching matchup of current Sun Devil Breanna Macha and Escobedo. Macha gave up five runs in the 2.1 innings she pitched.
All things considered, ASU managed to substantially hold its ground in the 6-2-scrimmage loss.
While the scrimmage against the Pride offers a glimpse at a talented team, the team’s season doesn’t officially begin until February.
Arizona State softball officially launches its schedule spring schedule Feb. 11 with the annual Kajikawa Classic with back-to-back games against Utah State and San Jose State. The team will also face Tennessee, East Carolina, Portland State, San Diego, and Kentucky over the weekend.
During the opening tournament last year, the team was 4-3 against teams like Creighton, Western Michigan, San Diego, and Ole Miss.
Arizona State’s conference play begins with a home series against in-state rival Arizona March 18-20. Last season, Arizona finished third in the Pac-12 and No. 15 overall in the final NCAA standings with a record of 41-20. When the softball chapter of the Territorial Cup happened, ASU took the series 2-1 over U of A; however, the Sun Devils did drop the final game 11-1 in five innings.
In lieu of another conference series this season, Arizona State will host Texas Tech out of the Big 12 the weekend after Arizona. Texas Tech finished 79th in the final standings and last in their conference.
From there, the Sun Devil’s season continues with uninterrupted conference play with just three road series.
One of the biggest advantages to their schedule is how the deep into the schedule the series against Oregon is in the schedule. The team will be well into Pac-12 play by that point in the season. ASU will also have home field advantage unlike last year when the Sun Devils were swept by the Ducks at home.
At this time, ASU is not slated to play UCLA; however, UCLA’s 2016 schedule is still incomplete. The Sun Devils closed out their 2015 season at home against the Bruins with a 2-1 series win.
The Sun Devils round out their 2016 schedule with an away series against Oregon State May 12-14.
The team’s next fall exhibition game is at home against South Mountain Community College before the team heads off to California to scrimmage Cal State University Northridge and Cal State Fullerton.
ASU previously saw CSUN last season in the Kajikawa Classic. CSUN is also the school where ASU received pitching coach Letty Olivarez.
While the schedule is mostly set in stone, the team’s coaching situation is not. The team most recently sparked attention in the Valley when head coach Craig Nicholson announced Oct. 12 that he would step down from his position.
According to reports by the Arizona Republic, Vice President for Athletics Ray Anderson said Olivarez and Robert Wagner are set to act as co-interim head coaches for the 2015-2016 season. Following the season, the university will look for a new head coach.
View the complete Sun Devil softball schedule here.