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Softball 2/13/2024 2:55:00 PM Jonathan Match, Idaho State Media Relations
Softball 2/13/2024 2:55:00 PM Jonathan Match, Idaho State Media Relations

Bengals Head to Texas to Take on Whataburger Invitational

OCATELLO, Idaho – The Bengals are back at it this week heading south to the Lone Star State to take on the Whataburger Invitational hosted by Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas Feb. 16-18.

The Bengals are coming off of the best start in program history, a 6-0 opening week on the West Coast.

The Field – Whataburger Invitational

 The Bengals take on four opponents in Texas this week

Idaho State

Tarleton State


Mississippi Valley State

Lafayette College

 How to Follow / Game Schedule  - Whataburger Invitational

Note, only the game against Tarleton State will have an ESPN+ Broadcast. The other 4 will be broadcast on WAC International, free to watch with email signup.

Game 1 ISU vs Buffalo | Feb. 16 | 3:15 PM MT

Live Stats


Game 2 ISU vs Tarleton State | Feb. 16 | 5:30 PM MT

Live Stats


Game 3 ISU vs Buffalo | Feb. 17 | 1:00 PM MT

 Live Stats


Game 4 ISU vs Mississippi Valley State | Feb. 17  | 3:15 PM MT

Live Stats


Game 5 ISU vs Lafayette | Feb. 18 | 8:00 AM MT

Live Stats



Tarleton State is offering multiple ticket packages for the tournament, a full tournament pass is $30 dollars and can be found here. Individual day passes are $20 and can be found here.

Quick Look – Whataburger Invitational Opponents

Tarleton State –

Tarleton State is coming into the 2-3 after playing their season-opening tournament at McNeese State. The Texans picked up wins over Tennessee State and Lamar while dropping the final three games of the tournament to Lamar and McNeese State.

· The Texans are hitting .312 as a team led by .467 and .417 from Kelci Hill and Brady Rowland, both are also clocking a .500 ob%.

· The Texans outhit opponents 39-34 over the opening week but were outscored 26-25.

· This will be the first-ever meeting of the two programs. Tarleton State joined the WAC and NCAA DI in 2020.

 Buffalo –

· Buffalo is 3-2 starting the season, with wins over Prairie View A&M and Lindenwood. The Bulls lost a pair of games to Incarnate Word.

· Bulls Pitcher Alexis Lucyshyn earned MAC pitcher of the week honors after going 3-0, including her 7th career shutout. Lucyshyn, in three games, fanned 22 batters and an opponent BA of .153.

· As a team, the Bulls are hitting .311, #4 Julia Tarantino leads the team with a .538 average.

· This will be the 6th meeting of the two programs, ISU currently leads the all-time series 5-0 with the previous win coming in 2019, a 3-2 win over the Bulls at the Titan Classic in Fullerton, Calif.

Mississippi Valley State –

· The Mississippi Valley State Devilettes are 0-3 starting the season as their opening week tournament was cut short due to weather.

· The Devilettes lost to Austin Peay, Purdue Fort Wayne and Hampton University.

· MVSU is hitting .185 over the first games of the year. #11 Jade Smith and #12 Aulora Edwards lead the team with .375 batting averages.

· The team was outhit 29-12 over the first three games and was outscored 15-2.

· This will be the third all-time meeting of the two programs. The Bengals are 2-0 with a pair of wins that came in 2015.

 Lafayette College –

· The Leopards are opening their 2024 season at the Whataburger Invitational this coming week.

· ISU is 3-0 all-time vs the Leopards with all three wins coming in the 2014 season.

 LaJolla Dominance

The Bengals opened the 2024 season at the LaJolla Invitational hosted by UC San Diego. Idaho State went 5-0 with two 'mercy rule' games and outscored opponents 36-12 as they dominated the opening tournament of the year.

Gracie Smith led the bengals hitting .550 on the week with 11 hits and two homeruns, including the Bengals' first grand slam of the season. Smith also had four stolen bases and for her efforts was named the Big Sky Player of the Week.

Freshman pitcher, Marley Goluskin dazzled in the circle, winning the first two games of her career with a 0.00 ERA over 10 innings pitched holding opponents to a stifling .158 BA. Goluskin earned co-Big Sky pitcher of the Week honors to open the season.

The Bengals hit seven home runs in the first six games of the year, led by Ava Brown's three dingers in the first three games of the season.

Preseason Picks

The Bengals were selected as the conference favorites in the 2024 Big Sky preseason coaches' poll. Idaho State, the defending regular-season champions return 15 team members to this year's squad, including six all-conference honorees and Big Sky freshman of the year Ava Brown and Big Sky Coach of the year Andrew Rich.

The voting breakdown was as follows.

1: Idaho State (3) – 23
2: Northern Colorado (2) – 22
3: Sacramento State (1) – 17
4: Portland State – 14
5: Weber State – 9
6: Montana – 5

Strong Veterans, Fresh Faces

The Bengals return 15 from last year's Big Sky Conference Championship team.

Ava Brown, Emma McMurray, Kate Hogan, Gracie Smith, Angelica Cano, Madison Muxen, Kenedy Dudley, Skyler Sethman, Megan Weiss, Rylee Peters, Paige Simpson, Olivia Robison, Alyssa Yee, Jillian Martinez and Piper Tago all return for the Orange and Black.

Ava Brown earned 1st team all-conference honors in 2023 and was named Big Sky freshman of the year.

Olivia Robison, Angelica Cano, and Alyssa Yee were all named 2nd team All-Big Sky\

Skyler Sethman, Paige Simpson and Kennedy Dudley all earned honorable mentions in 2023 rounding out the veterans.

New to the Bengals this season are; Camryn McDonald, Lizzy Tommasini, Marley Goluskin, Jenna Kearns, Belle Navarrete, Taylor Fitzgerald, Jaden Moore, Skylar Williams, and Riley Wickum.

Head Coach Andrew Rich hit the transfer portal to bring in talent to the Bengals program

Taylor Fitzgerald comes to the Bengals as a Graduate Student from UC Davis

Jaden Moore is a utility from the University of Houston

And Riley Wickum joins the bullpen coming to the Bengals from CSUN.

On Deck

After the Whataburger Invitational, the Bengals play a solo game at Utah Tech before competing at the GCU/ASU Classic in Arizona.