Diana Phillips and the Utah softball team plays at UVSC before playing in California next week.
March 12, 2007
On Deck - The University of Utah softball program (12-7-1 overall) continues its non-conference road swing this week. It begins with a road game at UVSC (March 13) and continues with the Aztec Classic in San Diego. There, the Utes will battle Miami University and Fordham (March 16), Iona (March 17), and conclude with Fairfield (March 18). After a weekend in San Diego, the Utes travel to Fullerton, Calif., to play Washington (March 20), Fullerton (March 21) and Ohio State (March 23). The Utes enter action this week having won three straight and nine of their last 11 games.
Quoting Head Coach Angie Jacobs:
On UVSC, the Aztec Classic and Playing at Fullerton: "Playing at UVSC and at the Aztec Classic are more chances for our team to prepare for Mountain West Conference play. We look forward to the opportunities this weekend but also look forward to playing teams from the Big 10 and Pac 10 as well as Fullerton in the following week. Those types of programs pose an exciting challenge that we always look forward to."
On Having Last Week Off: "The off week came at a good time for us. We have been on the road for four straight weeks and I think the team was a little tired and a little beat up. This was the perfect time for everyone to get some rest, take care of nagging injuries, and to focus on our academics before our spring trip to California. I think that if it had come any earlier, it wouldn't have been as beneficial for us as it was."
Everything will be "oh-K"- Meghan Dyer finished play at the Louisville Slugger USF Tournament with 21 strikeouts in only 12 innings pitched. The effort from that weekend solidified Dyer's name in Utah's record book as that bumped her career number up to 327. That is good enough for fifth among Utah's career strikeout leaders. She is 14 K's shy of fourth (Michelle Townsend, 327) and 168 short of third (Janet Womack, 495). Utah's all-time strikeout queen is Ali Andrus-Sagas. She had 809 in her career.
Lookin' Like a Track Meet - The team has gotten off to a good start on the offensive side, hitting the ball at an impressive .307 clip. The Utes are 167-for-544 at the plate. However, of the 167 hits thus far this season, 34 percent (52-of-167) have gone for extra bases. So far this year, the team has 27 doubles, two triples and 23 home runs.
Not So Sluggish - While the team's slugging percentage (.491) ranks third in the league, it can be misleading. The Utes boast three of the league's top four sluggers so far this season. Sophomore Hailey Davenport is the MWC's top slugger, collecting bases at a .849 clip. Kara Foster (.797) is second while leadoff hitter Diana Phillips is fourth (.712). The trio has 29 of the team's 55 extra-base hits, accounting for 56 percent of the team's production in that category.
Foe-miliar Faces - Head coach Angie Jacobs will see another familiar rival across the diamond this weekend. On Friday, the Utes will play her former team, the Miami RedHawks. It will mark the third time Jacobs has squared off against a Mid-American Conference team this year. In addition to Miami, she saw former conference rivals Buffalo, beating it 9-5 and 10-1, and Central Michigan, topping it 3-1.
Nifty Fifty - Over the last 10 games, Diana Phillips and Kara Foster have been a hitting force on the team. Both of them are hitting better than .500, topping out .586 and .516, respectively. Phillips leads the team with 13 hits over the last 10 outings, belting two doubles, two triples and two homers. Foster has a team-best 17 RBI with two doubles and five homers. She has a 1.065 slugging percentage as well.
"Whiff-le" Ball - Senior hurler Meghan Dyer has been a dominating force in the circle this young season. She has 122 of the team's 188 strikeouts this season. The 122 K's is by far the league standard. In second, behind Dyer, are the duo from San Diego State (Melissa Owens and Christina Ross). They both have 67 K's a piece. Combined with fellow Ute hurler Karina Cannon, the Utes have the top pitching tandem in terms of strikeouts. Cannon ranks fourth in the league with 63 batters whiffed.
Balls and Strikes - Utah is 1-4 versus teams mentioned in the national poll. It beat then-No. 17 Texas, 5-4, and lost to then-No. 8 Stanford, 5-2, and then-No. 13 Texas A&M, 10-3. Both Oregon and Hawaii were receiving votes in the national rankings and topped Utah, 6-0 and 3-1, respectively ... the Utes are 1-1 in extra-inning games. They beat No. 17 Texas in 10 innings, 5-4, and lost to UTEP, 3-2, in eight ... Diana Phillips currently has a five-game hitting streak. Andrea Hoffman has hit safely in four straight while three Utes have a three-game hitting streak ... nearly half (41 percent of the team's RBI have come with two outs (36-of-88) ... Utah's batting average soars to .314 when there are runners on base. It's even higher (.429) when there's a runner on third and less than two outs ... the Utes have had as many or more hits than their opponent in 10 of the last 11 games ... Utah has out-hit its opponents 34-9 in the last three games ... Utah is 8-0 when it has 10 or more hits in a game ... Utah's 15 hits in the 9-5 win over Buffalo (2/24) are a season high ... the team has outscored its opponents, 30-13, in innings six and seven combined ... the Utes are 12-1-1 when they score three or more runs. But, they are 0-6 when they score two or fewer.
Scouting the Opponents - Miami (7-12 oveall) will be looking to break a seven-game slide this week while Fordham enters the tourney with a 9-9 slate. It has won in two of its last three games. Fairfield University is 1-4 on the young season, having lost to Princeton in its last outing, 3-2. Iona College begins the 2007 season this week, looking to improve upon an 11-31 tally in 2006. Meanwhile, the Washington Huskies (18-4), Cal State Fullerton (14-9) and Ohio State (12-10) are all off to solid starts this season.
Last Time Out - Utah went 3-1 at the rain-shortened Louisville Slugger USF Tournament two weekends ago. It fell to Auburn, 9-1, and rebounded to beat New Mexico State (8-0), Maryland (8-1) and Central Michigan (3-1).
The Utes gave up eight hits and saw Auburn capitalize on four Utah errors as the Tigers beat Utah, 9-1 (5 inn.). Utah's lone run came off of Karina Cannon's RBI single to the gap in center field.
The Utes out-hit New Mexico State (11-1) and Maryland (14-3) in bagging 8-0 and 8-1 wins, respectively. A two-run home run by Kara Foster in the first and two-run double by Andrea Hoffman in the third lifted the Utes past NMSU. While, Foster's two-run double and Hailey Davenport's two-run homer pushed Utah past Maryland.
Foster broke a 1-1 tie in the seventh to help Utah claim the victory over CMU. She had a two-run double in the final at-bat that scored Hoffman and Kelly Matthews.
Meghan Dyer went 2-0 in the circle at the tournament while Cannon finished with a 1-1 tally.
Air Time - Select Mountain West Conference softball games will be televised on either CSTV or the mtn. this year. Utah's game at BYU (April 27) will air on CSTV while Utah's doubleheader at UNLV on April 5 will be seen on the mtn. Live Internet radio and gametracker will also be available for all home games on Utah's Web site, www.utahutes.com.
At the Helm - Head coach Angie Jacobs is in her first season as Utah's head coach. She brings eight years head coaching experience to the post, having guided the Miami University RedHawks during that time. She owns a 184-252-1 career record. Jacobs has 16 years of coaching experience, having been an assistant coach eight years prior to taking the helm at MU. Among her stops as assistant coach was a turn on the bench at Utah (1996-98). Her assistants are Debbie Bilbao and Brandon Twiss.
In the Hole - Utah will play three games in Fullerton, Calif., against Washington (March 20), Fullerton (March 21) and Ohio State (March 23) before venturing off to Reno, Nev., to play in the Nevada Tournament (March 30-April 1). Conference play begins the following week when Utah plays at UNLV (April 5) and at San Diego State (April 6-7).