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Golden Eagle softball team faces five tough tests at Cathedral City Classic

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - The Tennessee Tech softball team (5-4) is on the west coast this weekend to play five first-time opponents in the Cathedral City Classic. The tournament is considered one of the premiere Division I softball tournaments in the country, with 13 teams ranked in the Top 25 participating.

Tech opens play Thursday with a pair of games against Texas (5-3) and Oregon State (5-4). All five foes on Tech's tourney schedule bring winning records into the event, and all five played last year in the NCAA Tournament.

The Golden Eagles, winners of their last two games, will open play Thursday with a game against the Texas Longhorns, starting at 3 p.m. CST. It's the first meeting between Tech and Texas; the Golden Eagles played at the Texas softball stadium in the 2005 NCAA Tournament, but never met the Longhorns. Texas, picked to finish fourth in the Big 12 Conference, fell out of the Top 25 poll last week for the first time since 2004.

The second game of the day Thursday puts Tech against Oregon State for the first time. The Beavers received votes for the most recent Top 25 poll, and are listed 31st.

Tech's schedule continues Friday with games against Loyola Marymount (3-2) at 5 p.m. CST, and a contest against UC Santa Barbara (5-4) at 10 p.m. CST. It's the first meeting for Tech against both the Lions and the Gauchos.

The final game of the tournament for coach Tory Acheson's squad is Saturday night when Tech faces Brigham Young (6-5) in a 10 p.m. contest.