Amy Hogue and the Utes begin their 2010 season next week at the Red Desert Classic.
Feb. 5, 2010
With the first pitch of the 2010 Utah softball campaign eight days away, utahutes.com preps fans for the beginning of the season with a breakdown of the Ute roster as well as a look at the upcoming schedule. This is the fifth in a five-part series about the student-athletes Utah has at each position heading into the season as well as the competition they will face.
Utes Face Challenging Slate in 2010:
Utah's schedule features nine games against seven opponents who were ranked in both the USA Today/NFCA and ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 polls, including two games against schools who were listed in the top five of both rankings.
"I want the team to get tougher during the non-conference schedule," Utah's third-year head coach Amy Hogue said. "I want our pitchers to stick to the game plan, throwing a lot of strikes for a lot of quick outs. You don't get tougher when you're not playing tough teams."
Utah opens its regular season by playing in five tournaments, beginning at the Red Desert Classic in St. George, Feb. 12-14. Utah then travels to Las Vegas, Nev., for the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic Feb. 19-21, where it will open against No. 12/11 California and will finish the tournament against No. 15/17 Northwestern.
The Utes will participate in the Cathedral City Classic Feb. 25-22 in Cathedral City, Calif., a tournament hosted by Oregon State. Utah will face Oregon, No. 25/24 Fresno State, No. 17/15 Baylor, Long Beach State and UC Davis.
Utah then travels to Fullerton, Calif., to participate in the Judi Garman Classic, March 18-21. The Utes will face Oklahoma for the third time then take on No. 4/3 Michigan, who finished 1-2 in last season's NCAA Women's College World Series, before taking on defending national champion and preseason No. 1/1 Washington Mar. 20. Utah caps the tournament against San Jose State Mar. 21.
Utah then plays six consecutive games against in-state rivals. The Utes resume their home schedule by entertaining Southern Utah in a doubleheader on March 30 before traveling to Weber State April 2 for a doubleheader. A home doubleheader against Utah Valley on April 3 wraps up the stretch.
The Utes start their MWC slate on April 9 in a Deseret First Duel doubleheader at BYU.
"There wasn't a lot of turnover in pitchers [in the MWC]," Hogue said. "A lot of teams had young pitchers so I don't expect a lot of difference from them. We're just going to be able to compete better because we've gotten better on the mound."
*** Note: First ranking listed is USA Today/NFCA
*** Note: Second ranking listed is ESPN.com/USA Softball