Texie Criddle and the Utah softball team head to the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic in Las Vegas, Nev., this weekend.
Feb. 8, 2005
The Lineup: The University of Utah's swing through the southwest continues when it plays at the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic in Las Vegas, Nev., Feb. 11-13. UNLV is hosting the four-day, 22-team tournament. Pool play for Utah features two games on Friday (vs. No. 16 Oregon State at 10 a.m. and Hawaii at 12:30 p.m.), two games on Saturday(vs. Texas Tech at 12:30 p.m. and Wichita State at 8 p.m.) and one game on Sunday (vs. Cal Riverside at 1:15 p.m.). Utah's single game at Southern Utah originally slated for Thursday, Feb. 10 will be rescheduled for a later date.
Scouting Report -
Oregon State: The No. 16-ranked (NFCA coaches poll) Beavers are 4-0 after beating UC Santa Barbara and New Mexico in the Santa Barbara tournament last week. Offensively, Lisa Allen and her .583 average leads the team. Her 11 home runs in 2004 also led OSU. Brianne McGowen is the top OSU thrower, sporting a 2-0 mark and a 2.14 earned-run average.
Hawaii: The Rainbow Wahine are 3-1 for the season, having won back-to-back games to end action last weekend. Kristi Yoshizawa is leading the team at the plate. She hit .500 (5-for-10) the first weekend and is tied for the team lead with three RBI. In the circle, Jessica Morton and Shannon Tabion lead the way with a 0.00 and 0.70 ERA, respectively. Morton is 1-1 and Tabion is 1-0.
Texas Tech: The Red Raiders own a 2-2 mark this season. They come to Las Vegas on the heels of a 3-0 win over Northern Colorado last Saturday. Jennifer Corkin leads the Red Raiders after the first weekend of action. She hit .429 and owns a .714 slugging percentage. Sarah Losleban is 1-1 in the circle with a 0.84 ERA.
Wichita State: The Shockers bring a 2-2 mark into tournament action in Las Vegas. WSU is on a two-game winning streak after beating Texas State and Texas-Arlington on Saturday. Lisa Jones' .400 batting average leads the squad as do her three RBI. In the circle, Cynthia Verhulst leads with a 1-0 mark and a 0.00 ERA.
Cal-Riverside: The Highlanders were 1-5 in opening action last week. Among UCR's losses were decisions to nationally ranked rivals in No. 3 UCLA (3-0) and No. 20 Long Beach State (13-2). The lone Highlander win was a 9-0 shutout of Saint Mary's. Jessica Black's .438 batting average is tops on the team while Sara Radabaugh is the top pitcher (0-4, 2.03 ERA).
Quoting Head Coach Mona Stevens:
On the Louisville Desert Classic: "This tournament is going to be a little tougher. I think Hawaii and Oregon State will be tough, but we'll be ready for each and every team. If our pitchers perform like I know they can, we should be able to stay with every team in our pool.
"Our goal this weekend is to increase our awareness during the game. We need to be able to sense our priorities in the moment and make those adjustments unemotionally. That's the key to performing well."
On the BYU/UVSC Tournament: "We played okay last weekend. I was pleased with the pitching of Lindsie Nielsen and Brianna Gourdin and was happy to see Lynsey Wall and Devina Quintero do so well out of the shoot. I was also pleased to see three freshman - Diana Phillips, Meghan Crouse and Sharee Fonoti - step in and do a good job for us.
"But, we have got a long ways to go. We need to get calm, comfortable and confident and I think this tournament helped us get our feet under ourselves. It was a decent showing for the first weekend."
The Nielsen Ratings: Lindsie Nielsen made a sparkling debut for Utah, striking out nine of 17 batters in tossing a one-hitter against Utah Valley State in the season opener. Nielsen made two appearances last week, going 2-0 with a 1.75 ERA. She allowed only four hits in holding her rivals to a .154 batting average.
In the Swing of Things: The Utes pounded out 31 hits in their three outings last weekend. That included 14 hits in the five-inning season opener against UVSC and 12 hits in the second meeting with the Wolverines. Conversely, opponents tapped Utah for a meager 11 hits. UVSC had only one hit against the Utes in the season opener.
In the Swing of Things - Part 2: Utah came out of the weekend hitting a smooth .385 as a team. The Utes were 31-for-81 at the plate and also own a .650 slugging percentage in belting 13 extra-base hits. On the other side, Ute opponents are hitting a mere .169, going 11-for-65 against Utah hurlers.
Diaper Dandy: Freshman Diana Phillips is off to good start. Phillips is batting .429 after going 3-for-7 with two sacrifices last weekend. She went 2-for-3 with a home run in the second game against UVSC. The sixth-inning home run tied the game, 3-3, and sparked a seven-run outburst that led to the decisive 10-3 win.
Round Trip Air Fare: The Utes, who hit a school record 65 home runs in 2004, have reacquainted themselves with the long ball this season. In three games, Utah has already tallied four home runs - all of which came in the third and final game of last weekend. Juniors Ivette Hernandez and Lynsey Wall banged their 12th and 15th career home runs, respectively. Tallying their career first round-trippers were freshmen Sharee Fonoti and Diana Phillips.
A Cool "Bree-ze:" Pitcher Brianna Gourdin picked up from where she left off of from last year. In her lone appearance last weekend, the senior hurler fanned 10 of the 24 batters she faced and walked only 3. She surrendered three hits and one run in the winning effort. Gourdin brings in a 1.0 ERA into action this weekend and holds opponents to a team-best .125 batting average.
Offensive Juggernaut: Lynsey Wall emerged from the weekend as the team's top offensive threat. After three games, she leads the team with a .500 batting average (5-for-10) and has a double and home run to her credit. Her four runs and four RBI are also team highs. In the two games played against UVSC last weekend, Wall was 4-for-7 with a double and a home run.
Hit and Runs: Lynsey Wall and Devina Quintero had at least one hit in each of the first three games of the year ... Meghan Crouse has reached base safely in five out of six at-bats ... Jackie Wong's three hits in the season opener against UVSC are the most by a Ute in a single game thus far this year .. the Utes didn't commit a single error in 57 fielding attempts last weekend ... Utah hit .519 in the season opener versus UVSC. The Utes went 14-for-27 at the plate ... Utah's five doubles vs. UVSC on Feb. 4 is the most by a MWC school this season ... Utah is the only MWC to toss a one-hitter, the fewest hits allowed yet this year.
At the Helm: Mona Stevens is in her ninth season as Utah's softball head coach. Stevens is 263-210-1 all-time and owns a 100-72-1 record in conference play. She has led her squad to four NCAA regional appearances and has coached three All-Americans. Stevens has also coached 12 all-West Region players including Glennis Donnelly and Melissa Stahnke in 2004. Her teams have won one MWC regular season title and three MWC tournament titles, including the 2004 tournament championship.
On Deck: Utah's preseason tournament run continues on Feb. 17-20 when it plays in the Campbell/Cartier Tournament hosted by San Diego State University. Utah will face some of its fiercest competition there, where three of its five opponents are listed in the national poll. The Utes will play No. 19 Fresno State, Notre Dame (receiving votes), Santa Clara, No. 2 UCLA and Central Michigan. Utah will return to action the following weekend at the Palm Springs Classic in Palm Springs, Calif., on Feb. 25-27.