Masie Ota has a team-high three-game hitting streak going.
March 12, 2003
At The Plate
Utah will spend its spring break in California, remember all times are PT. The Utes kick off the trip on March 17 against San Jose State in San Jose with a doubleheader beginning at 1:00 p.m. The next day, the Utes face Illinois-Chicago and Pacific in the Pacific Mini Tournament in Stockton. The bout with IC starts at 9:30 a.m. After taking the next two days off, Utah travels to Sacramento to compete in the Capital Classic Tournament. On March 20, the Utes face Illinois at 7:30 p.m. Utah then will battle Morehead at 3:00 p.m. on March 21. Utah challenges Sacramento State at 10:00 a.m. and then No. 5 Washington on March 22. Last season, Utah fell to the Huskies, 4-1, at the Red Desert Classic. The tournament wraps up with Utah facing Eastern Kentucky at 9:00 a.m. on March 23.
The rain kept Utah from playing on Friday and Sunday in the Seminole Invitational Tournament in Tallahasse, Fla. Utah was set to host its own tournament, the Red Desert Classic, Feb. 28-March 2, but a week-long rain put an end to that as the tournament was canceled.
Recapping Last Week
With another rough start at the plate, the Utes concluded the Seminole Invitational Tournament last weekend with a 1-2 record. Utah began the tourney with a 4-0 loss, that left Jen Pursell at 4-5 on the season, despite not giving up an earned run. The next match up featured an excellent pitching performance from hurler Heather Bowlin as she threw a three-hitter against No. 18 Michigan. But Bowlin was forced to eat a 1-0 loss with no earned runs. The Ute bats finally came to life against Providence College, as they rolled to an 8-1 victory to improve to 7-11 on the year.
Utah will return to Salt Lake City as it opens its home season at Ute Field against in-state foe Southern Utah on March 27 at 3:00 p.m. The Utes remain in the Wasatch Front as they travel to Provo, Utah, to face conference rival Brigham Young in a doubleheader on March 29.
"After sitting for two weeks, our offense was very stale. We finally started to hit in our final game."
"We are looking forward to this trip. We are concentrated and focused on keeping our offense from sputtering again. It will be nice to not have a single day with a bunch of games, but rather a bunch of days with several games."
Ups And Downs
Stranded--The Utes continue to struggle with runners on base. They've left 130 runners this season, an average of just over seven per game. Back Me Up--In the 18 games played this season, Utah hurlers have allowed 39 earned runs which averages out to just over two per game. Tack on the 26 unearned runs and it bumps the pitchers average runs given up per game to nearly four.
Top Opponent Turbulence
Utah has posted a 1-6 record against ranked opponents this season. The sole win came against then-No. 13 Arizona State at the Sun Devils own tournament on Feb. 9. The Utes battle No. 5 Washington this weekend in Sacramento, Calif.
Utah will take eight road trips, including one to St. George, Utah, to host its own tournament, before hosting Southern Utah on March 27 at Ute Field. The advantage of traveling is the chance to play several ranked opponents before opening the conference season.
Senior Niki Hayhurst and junior Glennis Donnelly have been the Utes' multiple RBI threat so far. Hayhurst has boasted four multiple RBI games, while Donnelly can account for three. Donnelly can also account for the Utes' longest hitting streak this season of seven games.
The Utes have five freshmen on this year's team, including Brianna Gourdin, Ivette Hernandez, Sarah Lyman, Lynsey Wall and Jackie Wong. Gourdin has thrown 10.2 innings of relief, posting a 2.53 ERA. Hernadez was forced to miss some of the Utes' early games because of an injury, but was the best Ute last weekend with a .500 batting average in three games. Lyman has proven to be a strong pick for the number nine spot in the order. Wong is one of only three Utes to have multiple hit games this season, she has four. Wall garnered MWC Player of the Week honors in her freshman debut and has since filled the designated player and left field positions for Utah.
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 223-159-1 overall college 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.