Jaguars open season at Cowtown Classic
Feb. 10, 2017 at 2:03 p.m.
Updated Feb. 10, 2017 at 2:07 p.m.
UHV opens the 2017 softball season this weekend at the NAIA College Cowtown Classic at Gateway Park in Fort Worth.
The 18th-ranked Jaguars will begin tournament play with three games Friday, including two games against top-20 ranked teams.
"It's going to be a really tough start for us this season playing in the tournament this weekend, but we're up for the challenge," said UHV head coach Lindsey Ortiz. "We're going to find out what we do good and what things we need to improve on as a team."
UHV will play at 9 a.m. Friday against Avila University (Missouri), then turns around to face No. 20 Central Methodist College (Missouri) in an 11 a.m. matchup. The Jaguars finish off the day against top-ranked Oklahoma City at 5 p.m.
Junior pitcher Savannah Crittenden will get the start against Avila.
"We return all of our pitching staff from last year, and it's going to be one of our strengths this year," Ortiz said. "We're carrying a small roster this year and our team chemistry is really good. The girls are jelling and communicate well on the field."
Oklahoma City ended the Jaguars' season last year in the championship game of the Oklahoma City bracket of the NAIA Opening Round Tournament.
The Jaguars will play two games Saturday against Tabor College (Kansas) in a 1 p.m. contest and Texas Wesleyan at 3 p.m.
Senior Haley Beam and Gabby Davila will provide power in the lineup.
"We have players in our lineup that can hit for power and can hit for average," Ortiz said. "We have hitters all through the lineup that can put the ball in play and can score runs."
Last year, the Jaguars went 3-2 in the tournament, collecting wins against Bacone College (9-1), Tabor (7-2) and Texas Wesleyan (4-3), while losing to Morningside College (9-2) and Oklahoma City (8-2).
After the tournament, the Jaguars will begin Red River Athletic Conference play when they face off against Huston-Tillotson in a pair of doubleheaders next weekend in Austin.
"Last year, we were able to win our conference and we will be looking to do the same this year," Ortiz said. "We have been working hard at practice, and now it's time to get the season started."