Senior Meghan Dyer (above) and Karina Cannon will pitch in their last home games of their career this weekend.
May 8, 2007
On Deck - The University of Utah softball program (24-23-1, 4-11 Mountain West) wraps up regular season play with four games at Ute Field this weekend. First up on Utah's slate is a doubleheader with San Diego State on Thursday, May 10. First pitch against the Aztecs is set for 2 p.m., with the second game to follow. UNLV then comes to town for a pair of single games on Fri-Sat., May 11-12. Game times for those two match ups are set for 4 and 1 p.m., respectively.
Quoting Head Coach Angie Jacobs:
On The Games This Week: "We are excited to play the next four games in front of our home crowd. This is another great opportunity for us to gain some ground in the Mountain West Conference against two good teams like San Diego State and UNLV."
On Last Weekend: "It was a great weekend for us. We won two out of three games. I thought our energy and focus had risen to a level where it hasn't been in recent weeks, and that really showed both in the field and at the plate."
The Torrents of Spring - Shortstop Staci Hemingway turned in the team's top effort last weekend. She led the team in hitting an impressive .556 (5-for-9). Among her five hits were two doubles and a home run, for an eye-popping 1.111 slugging percentage. Not only did she lead the team in slugging and hitting, but she had the team's best RBI total (five) and on-base percentage (.600). What makes this most impressive is that Hemingway came into the week hitting only .266. Her effort last weekend bumped her season numbers up nearly 20 points. Hemingway is now hitting a respectable .284 on the year.
The 1-2 Punch - Utah's top-two hitters in the batting order accounted for 40 percent of the team's hits last weekend. Leadoff hitter Meghan Crouse hit .455, going 5-for-11, while the No. 2 hitter, Kristie Keller, hit .500, batting 4-for-8. In all, the team had 23 hits on the weekend, and Crouse and Keller tallied nine of them.
Schedule Note - A reminder that the Mountain West Conference has eliminated the conference tournament from its scheduling. In lieu of the tournament, the conference opted to play an additional week of non-conference games. The league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament will go to the regular season champion. At-large bids will be handed out by the NCAA Tournament selection committee on Sunday, May 13.
Home Run Rants - Utah has hit 50 home runs. Utah's single-season record for home runs is 65 set back in 2004 ... the Utes have homered in 31 games this season, going 19-11-1 in those games ... the Utes have hit four grand slams this season. Kara Foster has hit two of them while Hailey Davenport and Tori Medina have hit one ... the Utes have hit 12 lead-off home runs this season. Kara Foster has hit four and Hailey Davenport three ... 16 of the 50 homers have come with two outs on the board ... the Utes have hit 27 solo, 15 two-run, four three-run and four grand-slam home runs ... Utah has homered 10 times in the third, more than any other inning thus far. The team has also homered nine times in the sixth inning. Utah has seven in the fourth and hit six in each the first, fifth, and seventh ... almost half (22-of-50) of the home runs have come in the last three innings.
Balls and Strikes - Utah is 1-6 versus teams mentioned in the national poll. It beat then-No. 17 Texas, 5-4, and lost to then-No. 8 Stanford, 5-2, then-No. 13 Texas A&M, 10-3, and then-No. 12 Washington, 3-1. Oregon, Hawaii and Fullerton were receiving votes in the national rankings and topped Utah, 6-0, 3-1 and 5-2 respectively ... the Utes are 3-2 in extra-inning games. Three of them have come in league play where Utah is 2-1. Most recently, it beat Colorado State, 3-2, in eight frames ... the Utes are 4-7 in one-run games, most recently topping CSU, 3-2, in eight innings ... Utah is 21-3 when it scores first. It is 3-20-1 when opponents plate the first run of the game ... Colorado State's 20 runs in the second game three weeks ago are the most by a Ute opponent this season ... nearly half (42 percent) of the team's RBI have come with two outs (74-of-175) ... Hailey Davenport is the team's best leadoff hitter, 12-for-18 (.667). Diana Phillips is the best with runners on, 21-for-58 (.362), and with runners in scoring position, 11-for-29 (.379) ... Utah's batting average is .274 for the year. That number ups to .292 when there are runners on base. It's even higher (.410) when there's a runner on third and less than two outs ... Utah is 12-1 when it has 10 or more hits in a game. The first time it had 10-plus hits and lost was against BYU on April 28 (game 2, 4-3 in eight innings) ... Utah had a season-high 17 hits in the 12-4 win over Saint Mary's (3/31) ... Utah last five games have been either less than seven (run rule) or more than seven innings ... the Utes are 21-5-1 when they score three or more runs. But, they are 3-18 when they score two or fewer.
Scouting the Opponents - San Diego State is 30-22 overall and 4-10 in Mountain West play. It is in fifth place in the league. It split its two games with UNLV last weekend as it won game one, 5-3, and then dropped game two by a 1-0 count. Leading the Aztecs this season are Brittany Knudson (.394 batting, four home runs) and Melissa Owens (9-8, 1.79 ERA).
UNLV is 35-25 overall and 10-6 in league play. It enters the week in second place in the MWC, three games behind league-leading BYU. The Rebels are led by Jaci Hull (.367 batting, 15 doubles) and Christine Robinson (13-5, 2.11 ERA).
Last Time Out - The Utes went 2-1 last week, beating Colorado State, 3-2, and splitting a pair of games at New Mexico. The Lobos grabbed a win in the first game, 15-5, while Utah nabbed the second-game win, 8-0.
Utah had a 2-0 lead over CSU for five innings. But, the Rams battled back to tie it in the bottom of the seventh. However, it was Kara Foster's solo homer in the eighth that went unanswered, lifting the Utes to a 3-2, extra-innings win. Ute hurler Karina Cannon got the start and the win.
The Utes led 3-0 after the first inning of game one against New Mexico. But, the Lobos roared back with a nine-run second inning and a six-run third. An error in the third allowed Utah to make 9-4 and Meghan Crouse's RBI single in the fourth made it 15-5. Cannon, who allowed nine runs (one earned), takes the loss.
Game two against the Lobos was all Utah. The Utes led the game off with five straight singles and captured the 4-0 lead after their first at bat. Staci Hemingway added an RBI double in the second while Kristie Keller added a solo homer in the fourth. Two runs off of an error in the sixth vaulted Utah to the 8-0, six-inning win. Meghan Dyer chalked up the win for the Utes.
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) aired on CSTV while Utah's doubleheader at UNLV on April 5 was seen on the mtn. Live Internet radio and gametracker will also be available for all home games, in addition to select away 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 196-267-1 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 assistant coach is Debbie Bilbao.
In the Hole - The Utes await to see their postseason destiny when the NCAA announces the 64-team tournament field on Sunday, May 13.