Jackie Wong led the team and the conference in hitting .439 this year.
May 25, 2006
The University of Utah softball team (40-21 overall) completed the 2006 season by making it to the NCAA Regional Final in Austin, Texas, last weekend. With the 2-2 mark in the NCAA Tournament, Utah topped the 40-win plateau for only the sixth time in school history.
How the West Was Won - Jackie Wong has added All-West Region honors to her list of 2006 accolades. The senior second baseman was a first-team selection to the 2006 Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-West Region team. Wong finished the year hitting a team- and league-best .439. In fact, Wong's batting average ranked No. 9 in the nation as of May 21. Also impressive was her slugging (.595) and on-base (.487) percentages. In the field, Wong only made one error in 240 chances, chalking up a .996 fielding percentage. She is now eligible for All-America honors.
Stellar Finish - Staci Hemingway had a solid postseason for the Utes. In the eight games played between the conference and NCAA tournaments, Hemingway led the team in hitting .368 (7-for-19) and had a team-best six RBI. Among Hemingway's postseason triumphs was a three-run homer in the sixth inning of the MWC Championship. It erased San Diego State's 3-0 lead and helped Utah secure the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Turning the Bus Around - The 2006 Utes won the MWC Tournament title and made it the NCAA Regional Final, going 40-21. The team hit .267, fielded .968 and had an earned-run average of 2.57. In fact, this year's team is only one of six Utah squads to record a 40-win season. But, this year's numbers are a far cry from the 2005 squad that went 21-29. That team hit .248, fielded at a .945 rate and recorded an ERA of 3.12.
Updating the Record Book - Senior Jackie Wong finishes her career fourth in runs scored (130). She also set the single-season mark for on-base percentage (.487). Jessica Shiery's five sac flies ties the single-season mark. As a team, the eight saves, 385 strikeouts, and .986 fielding percentage were all new single-season marks. The only single-game record set this season came in the 18-2 win over UNLV on March 31. The 18 runs tied the school record while the 18 RBI set the single-game standard.
Recap - The Utes went 2-2 in the NCAA Tournament in Austin, Texas, making it to the Regional Final against the No. 3-seed Texas Longhorns.
The NCAA Tournament got off to a rocky start as the Indiana Hoosiers blanked the Utes, 3-0, in the first game. Utah only had one hit in that game, surrendering nine to IU.
Utah rebounded to win its next two, launching it into a Regional Final match up with Texas. The Utes rallied from deficits in each game to bag a 3-2 win over Texas-San Antonio and a 5-1 victory over Indiana. Jackie Wong's sac fly in the seventh inning lifted the Utes past UTSA while a five-run sixth inning against the Hoosiers erased a 1-0 deficit and put Utah into the Regional Final.
The Utes' run ended when it came up against Texas pitcher Cat Osterman. She struck out the first 14 batters en route to an 18-strikeout performance. Her perfect game ended in the fifth inning when Staci Hemingway singled through the left side. It would prove to be Utah's only hit for the game. The Longhorns scored two runs in the second and a run in the third to secure the 3-0 win and a bid into the Super Regionals.