Jessica Shiery and the Utah softball team have four games on tap this weekend.
Feb. 14, 2006
On Deck - The extended non-conference roadtrip continues for the University of Utah softball team (2-3 overall) as it heads to the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic in Las Vegas, Nev. Utah has four games on tap at this tournament. On Friday, Feb. 17, it will play Wright State (9:00 a.m.) and Hawaii (11:30 a.m.) and on Saturday, Feb. 18, it will tangle with Illinois (11:15 a.m.) and Cal Poly (1:30 a.m.).
The Lineup -
Wright State's (0-0) season-opener is against the Utes. The Raiders return seven starters and nine letterwinners from the 2005 team that went 15-24.
Hawaii is 4-2 on the year, having won three of the last four. The Rainbow Wahine's top hitter is Tyleen Tausaga (.421) while their top hurler is Jessica Morton. She is 1-1 with a 1.62 earned-run average.
Illinois is 2-2 after its first weekend of play. Rachelle Coriddi is hitting a team-best .471 while Claire DeVreese is the top hurler with a 1-1 mark and a 2.92 earned-run average.
Cal-Poly brings a 1-4 mark into the tournament. Chelsea Green leads the team in hitting .429 while the Mustang's top hurler, Robyn Kontra, is 0-1 with a 2.53 earned-run average.
You're Money - Sophomore Diana Phillips continues to be a force at the plate for Utah after the first weekend of play. After 17 at bats, the all-conference player is hitting a team-best .412 with three extra-base hits (two of which are triples). As a freshman last year, Phillips led the team in hitting .309 for the season.
Honored - Leadoff hitter Jackie Wong earned all-tournament honors at the Hilton Las Cruces Classic last weekend. She was third on the team in hitting (.368), belted a double and scored three runs. She also had an on-base percentage of .400 and a slugging percentage of .526 for the weekend.
Let it Fly - Both Jackie Wong and Diana Phillips got the 2006 season off to a good start. They each boast five-game hitting streaks. Dating back to last season, Phillips has a seven-game hitting streak while Wong has a six-gamer. Phillips' career long hitting streak is nine games while Wong's is seven.
Feisty Frosh - The team belted four home runs last weekend, three of which came from the bats of freshmen. Jessica Shiery, Staci Hemingway and Andrea Hoffman all went yard in their first weekend of collegiate play. In fact, Hoffman hit the long ball in her very first collegiate at bat against Colorado State.
In "Dyer" Straits - Hurler Meghan Dyer emerged with some nice numbers last weekend. The junior college transfer struck out 14 batters in only 9.1 innings of work. She also held her rivals to only six hits, one of which that went for extra bases. Dyer finished the weekend 1-1 in two appearances and with a 4.50 earned-run average.
That's Offensive - If the first weekend is any indication, the Utes will be more potent on the offensive side of the game. Last year, Utah hit .248 with four of its extra-base hits going for triples. After the first weekend, the team is hitting .309 and has nearly equaled its triples from last year with three.
Recap - The Utes opened the season 2-3 at the Hilton Las Cruces Classic on the campus of New Mexico State last weekend.
The Utes beat New Mexico State, 3-1, and Portland State, 5-1, but dropped a 7-3 decision to Colorado State, an 8-0 game to Texas-San Antonio and an 11-9 affair to Ohio State.
Diana Phillips and Jackie Wong led the team in hitting last weekend, each tallying seven hits apiece. Phillips went 7-for-17 (.412) with two triples while Wong hit 7-for-19 (.368) with a double and a triple. Devina Quintero's five RBI led the Utes as she went 5-for-13 (.385) at the plate.
Karina Cannon was the team's top hurler on the weekend. She made four appearances in chalking up a 1-0 record. In 14 innings of work, Cannon struck out seven, walked four and scattered 12 hits. Meghan Dyer led the team with 14 K's in tossing only 9.1 innings.
From the Batting Cage - Utah has hit four home runs so far this year. But, it is 0-2 in games in which its batters went yard ... the Utes have surrendered 15 runs between the first two innings and only 13 among the last five frames ... in contrast, Utah has scored a total of nine runs between the first four innings and 11 among the final three ... the team is 0-3 when its opponents score in the first inning ... the Utes are averaging 4.0 runs per game this year. That number is almost one-run better than 2005's 3.04 per-game average ... last weekend, Utah had nine hits that went for a double or triple while its opponents only had three. However, rivals tagged Utah for 11 home runs while Utah only hit four.
At the Helm - The University of Utah softball team is under the direction of Interim Co-Head Coaches Marianne Bullis and Kyle Magnusson. This is the first stint as head coach for Bullis and Magnusson. Bullis is in her fourth year on the Ute coaching staff while Magnusson is in his second. A search for a full-time head coach will commence at the end of the season.
Preseason Prognosticators - The Utes were picked to finish fifth in the league, according to the preseason coaches poll. Utah earned eight points, one better than sixth-place New Mexico. Brigham Young's 23 points and three first-place votes were good enough for first. Rounding out the rest of the poll is UNLV (22 points, three first-place nods), San Diego State (16), Colorado State (14), Utah (8) and New Mexico (7).
In the Hole - Utah returns to the deep south for the UTEP Invitational from Feb. 24-26. There it will play San Jose State, Northern Colorado, New Mexico State and UTEP. Follwing the UTEP Invitational, the Utes will head to the Sunshine State Tournament from March 10-12 in Tallahassee, Fla. There Utah will play three games before heading into bracket play.