2024 Mark Campbell Collegiate Invitational

UCLA Softball Begins Title Push At Mark Campbell Collegiate Invitational

UCLA Softball Begins Title Push At Mark Campbell Collegiate Invitational

Here's everything you need to know about the 2024 Mark Campbell Collegiate Invitational, where UCLA and UT softball will meet in an early-season test.

Jan 18, 2024 by Briar Napier
Highlights: UCLA Vs. Kentucky

UCLA softball will meet Texas to cap off the 2024 Mark Campbell Collegiate Invitational. The early-season tournament will see Texas, UCLA and San Diego each play two games in a single day. It will also be the second time UCLA will meet Texas' softball team in 24 hours, having played the day prior at the Stacy Winsberg Tournament.

Despite successful seasons, both Texas and UCLA have fallen short of title aspirations in recent years. Regardless, each program is a force in college softball, and both Texas and UCLA find themselves ranked in the top 10 of D1Softball's 2024 preseason rankings. As with every college softball season, the teams will be trying to steel themselves against the best early in the year.

Named in memory of police officer and legendary softball coach in Southern California, the Mark Campbell Collegiate Invitational pays homage to its namesake, who inspired and mentored many across the region to find success in the sport. 

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the 2024 Mark Campbell Collegiate Invitational, which will be held Feb. 10 in Irvine, California, and streamed live on FloSoftball:

What Teams Are Playing In The 2024 Mark Campbell Collegiate Invitational?

  • UCLA
  • Texas 
  • University of San Diego

This year’s Mark Campbell Collegiate Invitational will feature just three teams, but don’t confuse that with a lack of quality. 

The biggest name in the trio is UCLA, and the Bruins—who will only need to travel 40 miles for the event—should bring plenty of fans with them to Deanna Manning Stadium for their two games. 

After being the No. 2 national seed in the NCAA Tournament a year ago, but shockingly missing out on a Super Regional for the first time since 2013, UCLA should be hungry to correct its mistakes this year and be one of the top threats to finally end Oklahoma’s dynasty.

Texas also is trekking to Irvine, and after making a run to the finals of the Women’s College World Series in 2022 as an unseeded team, the Longhorns just missed out on back-to-back trips to Oklahoma City last year, losing to Tennessee in their Super Regional. 

Rounding out the group for this year’s Mark Campbell Collegiate Invitational is San Diego, and though the Toreros (who went 23-29-1 last season) have a huge challenge ahead of them in having to face UCLA and Texas on the same day, they may give the other two squads a tougher test than most expect. 

Case in point: UCLA had a tricky time getting past San Diego in fall ball in November, with the Bruins winning 2-1 in their lone game of the autumn at the USD Softball Complex.

Players To Watch At 2024 Mark Campbell Collegiate Invitational

Maya Brady, SS, UCLA

It shouldn’t be any surprise that Brady is among the best players in college softball, as greatness already is in her bloodline. Her uncle, seven-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback Tom Brady, is the most successful NFL quarterback of all time. 

The softball Brady was a top-tier player in the sport by the time her junior season came around last year, but she took it to another level in 2023 by erupting in most of her statistical categories, winning the Pac-12 Conference batting title and the Pac-12 Player of the Year award. 

Competing with ex-Bruins Megan Faraimo and Ally Carda as a member of Team USA in the Women’s Softball World Cup this past summer in Ireland, the internationally known Brady name is expanding its reach to other sports, too.

Mia Scott, INF, Texas

Scott went from the All-Big 12 Freshman Team in 2022 to the All-Big 12 first team in 2023. 

Is an All-American season next for 2024? 

The answer to that question may depend on how far the Longhorns go in the postseason, but as Scott looks to be the next in a line of elite players in Austin–following in the footsteps of a Longhorns great, Janae Jefferson–it will be worth watching to see how her star grows as the season goes along. 

A career .377 hitter, Scott led the Longhorns a season ago with 75 hits, 53 runs scored and 19 stolen bases, while tying for the team lead with 21 multi-hit games. Her biggest value to UT was her ability to perform when faced with specific situations. 

For instance, Scott hit .419 with two outs, .426 when leading off an inning and an incredible .643 with a runner on third and less than two outs, being the Longhorns’ most reliable source of offense and jump-starter of many Texas scoring pushes. 

At the Mark Campbell Collegiate Invitational—especially if faced with a deficit—UT will be looking to her often to be the one to create a spark.

Sharlize Palacios, C, UCLA

The Bruins were crushed when Palacios, who transferred into the program for the 2023 season after three strong years at Arizona, saw her redshirt junior campaign end in late April. Just a few weeks prior to the NCAA Tournament, she suffered a season-ending hand injury. 

The three-time All-Pac 12 honoree and two-time selection to the All-Pac 12 Defensive Team was one of the most important cogs on the UCLA squad prior to the injury. Her absence likely contributed to the Bruins’ stunning elimination in the regional round, where they lost back-to-back one-run games at home against Grand Canyon and Liberty, having entered the tourney one of the favorites to win the national championship. 

Back as the Bruins’ backstop for another year, Palacios will be aiming to help UCLA return to the WCWS with a roar. 

A starter in all 45 games she appeared in, Palacios smacked 10 home runs and 33 RBIs in 2023, while leading the Bruins with a .990 fielding percentage, a mark that helps her standing as one of the best defensive catchers in college softball.

How To Watch The Mark Campbell Collegiate Invitational

Watch the 2024 Mark Campbell Collegiate Invitational on FloSoftball and the FloSports app.

FloSoftball will be streaming several NCAA Division I College Softball tournaments including the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, THE Spring Games, and the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge

2024 Mark Campbell Collegiate Invitational Schedule

All times Pacific

Session 1

Feb. 10

  • 12:30 p.m. – University of San Diego vs. UCLA
  • 3 p.m. – University of San Diego vs. Texas

Session 2

Feb. 10

  • 6 p.m. – Texas vs. UCLA

Who Was Mark Campbell?

A high school and travel softball coach in and around Southern California for much of his life until his untimely death in 2019. Campbell was well-respected across the sport for his commitment and passion, spending countless hours with players and helping turn many across the region into collegiate stars. 

The Mark Campbell Collegiate Invitational was created in his memory to recognize, as the tournament website refers to him as, “a great ambassador to our sport.”

What Is The Mark Campbell Collegiate Invitational?

The Mark Campbell Collegiate Invitational, now an annual event conducted by Premier Girls Fastpitch, first was held in 2022 and quickly has turned into one of the premier early-season softball showcases on the calendar, having brought household names in the sport, such as Oklahoma, Stanford, Washington and others, to Southern California for a loaded slate of softball each year. 

The number of participants in each event has varied, but the dates have largely stayed consistent, as it has been held sometime in early February, which traditionally is the opening week of the college softball season. This year’s event will take place entirely on Feb. 10.

Where Is The Mark Campbell Collegiate Invitational?

The Mark Campbell Invitational takes place at the Deanna Manning Stadium, located within Bill Barber Memorial Park in Irvine, California.

The venue frequently hosts high school and recreational games throughout the year and is known best—especially among diehard travel softball fans and figures—as one of the host venues for The Champions Cup, an elite youth softball tournament held in July

The stadium officially holds just shy of 800 spectators, but don’t be shocked if that number gets stretched even further. For instance, Oklahoma listed its official attendance for its Friday night game at last season’s Mark Campbell Collegiate Invitational against Stanford at exactly 1,000 people

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