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Five Things To Know About BYU Softball For 2024 Season

Feb 7, 2024, 11:08 PM | Updated: 11:09 pm

BYU Softball, Big 12, 2024 Season...

BYU softball begins a new era in the Big 12 Conference in 2024. (Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)

(Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – It’s a new era for BYU softball in 2024.

The 2024 campaign begins on February 8.

Here are five things you should know about the Cougars.

First season in the Big 12 Conference

The Big 12 Conference is the fourth new league for BYU Softball since leaving the Mountain West Conference in 2011. BYU spent a year in the Western Athletic Conference in 2012 and then the Pacific Coast Softball Conference in 2013.

For the past 10 years, BYU softball has been in the West Coast Conference. The Cougars won eight conference titles in that league.

Despite the strong success in the WCC, expectations are low for BYU in year one of the Big 12. The Cougars were picked 7th out of 10 teams in the league. The preseason favorite was national powerhouse Oklahoma.

Oklahoma is the three-time defending national champion in college softball.

After Oklahoma, Texas was picked second, followed by Oklahoma State.

Cincinnati, Kansas State, TCU, and West Virginia are Big 12 institutions that do not field softball programs.

BYU has a 22-36 all-time record against current Big 12 softball programs.

Head coach Gordon Eakin enters his 22nd season

Gordon Eakin enters his 22nd season leading the BYU softball program. Eakin has 800 career wins in his head coaching career at BYU. Under his watch, the Cougars have made 16 NCAA Tournament appearances, advancing to one NCAA Super Regional in 2010.

Eakin retooled his staff, hiring first-year assistant coaches Allie Hancock-Schneemann and Ken Brooke. Brooke was a hitting coach at Auburn for the past three seasons.

Seeking first NCAA Tournament since 2021

BYU softball has missed the NCAA Tournament the past two seasons. It’s the first time that has happened in 20 years.

Despite missing the NCAAs last year, BYU did play in the NISC (softball version of the NIT), reaching the championship game before falling to Iowa. BYU was 35-17 last season with an 11-4 record in the WCC.

Key BYU softball players to watch

BYU softball returns 17 players from last year’s team. There’s a lot more experience returning, as last year saw BYU go through games with six freshmen in starting lineups.

The star player returning is first baseman senior Huntyr Ava. Ava was the WCC Player of the Year last season and is BYU’s lone preseason All-Big 12 player this year.

A native of Rose Park, Utah, Ava has 51 career home runs and a batting average of .346.

Other notable returning players include last year’s WCC Defensive Player of the Year, Ailana Agbayani. The sophomore shortstop and right-handed pitcher led BYU in batting average at .337 last season. She also had 17 pitching appearances, posting a 5-3 record with a 2.43 ERA.

Also, watch for former UCF transfer Maddie Bejarano at left field, center fielder Violet Zavodnik, and infielder Tristen Turlington.

2024 BYU Softball Schedule

* = Big 12 Conference game

All times in the Mountain Time Zone

Paradise Classic (Honolulu, Hawaii – February 8-10)

February 8 – vs. UMKC, 1:30 p.m.

February 8 – vs. Ole Miss, 4 p.m.

February 9 – vs. Nevada, 1:30 p.m.

February 10 – vs. UMKC, 4 p.m.

February 10 – at Hawaii, 6:30 p.m.

Littlewood Classic (Tempe, Arizona – February 15-17)

February 15 – at Arizona State, 5:30 p.m.

February 16 – vs. Virginia Tech, 10:30 a.m.

February 16 – vs. Illinois State, 1:15 p.m.

February 17 – vs. Memphis, 10:30 a.m.

February 17 – vs. Cal State Fullerton, 1:15 p.m.

Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic (Cathedral City, California – February 22-24)

February 22 – vs. Bethune-Cookman, 1 p.m.

February 22 – vs. UC Riverside, 8 p.m.

February 23 – vs. Long Beach State, 4:30 p.m.

February 24 – vs. Cal Poly, 6 p.m.

February 24 – vs. Rutgers, 9 p.m.

Capital Classic (February 29-March 2)

February 29 – at Sacramento State, 12 p.m.

March 1 – vs. UC Santa Barbara, 10:30 a.m.

March 1 – vs. Utah State, 1 p.m.

March 2 – at UC Davis, 12 p.m.

March 7 – Texas Tech*, 5 p.m.

March 8 – Texas Tech*, 5 p.m.

March 9 – Texas Tech*, 12 p.m.

March 11 – Utah Valley, 4 p.m.

March 14 – at Texas*, 5 p.m.

March 15 – at Texas*, 4 p.m.

March 16 – at Texas*, 11 a.m.

March 18 – at Utah, 5 p.m.

March 21 – Oklahoma State*, 5 p.m.

March 22 – Oklahoma State*, 5 p.m.

March 23 – Oklahoma State*, 12 p.m.

March 26 – at Utah Tech, 4 p.m.

March 28 – Houston*, 5 p.m.

March 29 – Houston*, 5 p.m.

March 30 – Houston*, 12 p.m.

April 2 – Utah Tech, 5 p.m.

April 4 – at UCF*, 4 p.m.

April 5 – at UCF*, 4 p.m.

April 6 – at UCF*, 10 a.m.

April 9 – at Utah Valley, 6 p.m.

April 11 – at Oklahoma*, 5 p.m.

April 12 – at Oklahoma*, 5 p.m.

April 13 – at Oklahoma*, 12 p.m.

April 16 – Idaho State, 6 p.m.

April 18 – Iowa State*, 6 p.m.

April 19 – Iowa State*, 6 p.m.

April 20 – Iowa State*, 1 p.m.

April 25 – Baylor*, 6 p.m.

April 26 – Baylor*, 6 p.m.

April 27 – Baylor*, 12 p.m.

April 30 – at Idaho State, 4 p.m.

May 2 – at Kansas*, 4 p.m.

May 3 – at Kansas*, 4 p.m.

May 4 – at Kansas*, 11 a.m.

May 8-11 – Big 12 Softball Championship (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and hosts the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s’ coverage of BYU in the Big 12 Conference on X: @Mitch_Harper.

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Five Things To Know About BYU Softball For 2024 Season