Heather Bowlin posted a 1-1 record at the Fiesta Bowl Tournament.
Feb. 11, 2003
At The Plate
Utah will travel to Las Vegas, Nev., to compete in the UNLV Classic, Feb. 14-16. The tournament will put the Utes against Hawaii and Portland State on Friday, Cal State Fullerton and LSU on Saturday, and No. 1 UCLA on Sunday.
Recapping Last Week
The Utes came away from the Fiesta Bowl Tournament in Phoenix, Ariz., with a 2-3 record. Utah opened the tourney with a 3-2 victory over Texas Tech, but then dropped its next three to Iowa State (6-5), No. 23 Oregon State (1-0) and No. 24 Texas A&M (11-4). The Utes wrapped up play with an upset win over No. 13 Arizona State, 5-3. Freshman Lynsey Wall led the Utes' plate attack with a .444 average and a home run. Junior hurler Heather Bowlin was 1-1 during the tournament. Bowlin tied her career high of seven strikeouts in a no-decision effort against Iowa State and then threw strong games against Oregon State (L, 1-0) and Arizona State (W, 5-3).
Utah travels to Santa Barbara, Calif., for the Santa Barbara Tournament, Feb. 21-23. Next, the Utes will host the Red Desert Classic in St. George, Utah, Feb. 28-March 2.
"We were pleased with our start this past weekend, but also realize we didn't play well at times. Beating No. 13 ASU proved we are able to play with the top teams. That win should keep us motivated to play well this week."
"Again we are looking to meet up with great competitition at this weekend's tournament. We want it that way. This team believes it can play with the best."
Ups And Downs
Utah committed 12 errors to its opponents seven during its opening weekend. The Ute pitchers had 23 strikeouts to their opponents' 22. Utah was only outhit 32-29 in its five games. Eight out of the nine starters had at least one hit in the Utes' victory over ASU.
Junior Heather Bowlin led the Ute pitchers last weekend. The Missouri native recorded nine strikeouts in 19.2 innings.
Freshmen Lynsey Wall, Jackie Wong, Sarah Lyman, Ivette Hernandez and Brianna Gourdin came up big in their debut weekends for Utah. Wall notched four hits, including a home run. Wong also had four hits, while Hernandez connected for a hit in her only plate appearance and Lyman knocked in three runs. Gourdin threw 3.2 innings against Texas A&M, allowing two runs while striking out two.
After wrapping up the MWC Tournament Championship and a trip to the NCAA tournament, Utah looks to carry over it's momentum from a season ago. Returning to the mix are all-conference honorees Melissa Stahnke and Niki Hayhurst, and MWC Tournament MVP Jen Pursell. Overall, Utah returns nine letterwinners and four starters to combine with seven newcomers. The Utes were picked second in the conference preseason coaches' poll, behind San Diego State.
Melissa Stahnke, arguably the best hitter to play at Utah, will move from shortstop to third base this season. The junior, who already ranks as the Ute career home run leader, looks to add to that total this season.
Senior first baseman Niki Hayhurst, a three-time all-MWC performer, looks to make her senior season her best yet. Hayhurst currently ranks fifth in the Ute records with a .336 career batting average.
Pitcher Jen Pursell enters her senior season after transferring to Utah a year ago. Pursell was the 2002 MWC Tourney MVP.
Comprising the Utes' this season are 11 newcomers, including Glennis Donnelly, Jackie Wong and Ivette Hernandez. Donnelly was a two-time JUCO All-American, who hit near the .500 mark for her career. Wong garnered all-league honors in California, while Hernandez was named the 2002 California Interscholastic Federation Player of the Year.
Head Coach Mona Stevens is in her seventh season at the helm of the Utah softball program. Stevens, a well-known coach at the collegiate, national and international levels, has a 219-153-1 overall record. The Provo, Utah, native is currently serving as President of the National Fastpitch Coaches Association. In her spare time, Stevens enjoys performing with her band, the Sister Wives.
An All-Ute Staff
Joining Stevens as coaches are Marianne Bullis and Carrie Kosderka. All three were Ute players and are U. graduates. Kosderka is in her second season as an assistant coach, while Bullis is in her first.