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Softball Kicks Off 2014 Season at Kajikawa Classic

Kayla Bufardeci and the Aztecs kick off the 2014 campaign on Thursday in Tempe, Ariz.
Kayla Bufardeci and the Aztecs kick off the 2014 campaign on Thursday in Tempe, Ariz.

Feb. 5, 2014

SAN DIEGO -

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The San Diego State softball team begins its quest for a seventh consecutive NCAA tournament bid Thursday when it travels to Tempe, Ariz., to compete in Arizona State's Kajikawa Classic.

The Aztecs are scheduled to play Appalachian State (4 p.m.MT) and Oregon State (6:30 p.m. MT) on Thursday, No. 22/20 Stanford at 3 p.m. MT Friday and Cal Poly (4:30 p.m. MT) and Seattle (7 p.m. MT) on Saturday.

On Tuesday, SDSU was picked to win the Mountain West regular season title for third straight season in a preseason poll voted on by the league's nine coaches. San Diego State garnered 63 points, including seven of the nine first-place votes, outdistancing runner-up Fresno State's 56 points and two first-place votes.

The Aztecs are coming off a 36-20 record in 2013, advancing to the NCAA tournament for a school-record sixth consecutive year and capturing their sixth Mountain West title and second straight league championship.

SDSU returns eight starters (including pitchers) from last year's squad, including Easton All-Americans Lorena Bauer (San Diego/Steele Canyon HS) and Patrice Jackson (Kansas City, Mo.). Three all-MW selections are back as well, led by Jackson (2013 MW Player of the Year), Danielle O'Toole (2013 MW Freshman of the Year) and Bauer. Additionally, Hayley Miles, who was a NFCA All-American in 2012, the MW Co-Player of the Year and is on the 2014 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Watch List, is back after redshirting the 2013 campaign.

San Diego State opens up its home schedule on Feb. 13 when it plays host to the 24th annual Campbell/Cartier Classic, which will be contested from Feb. 13-16. The Aztecs will play Cal State Fullerton (Feb. 13 at 6 p.m. PT), South Dakota (Feb. 14 at 4:30 p.m. PT), California (Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. PT), Texas State (Feb. 15 at 2 p.m. PT) and Saint Mary's (Feb. 16 at 1 p.m. PT).