PROVO, Utah — After a week off, the BYU softball team will play in its home opener on Tuesday against Marist College at 6 p.m. MDT at Gail Miller Field. The Cougars then will travel to San Diego for their conference opener in a doubleheader at USD Softball Complex on Friday at 4 p.m. and 6 PDT, and Saturday at noon and 2 p.m.
BYU quick hits
BYU went 4-0 in its home and conference opener last season, defeating Idaho State, 5-2, and New Mexico State, 3-2, 9-1 (5) and 6-3.
This will be just the second time that BYU has faced Marist in its history, and this will also be the Red Foxes' first visit to Gail Miller Field.
BYU started last home season with an 8-0 record. Overall the Cougars were 17-1 at home, with the lone loss coming against No. 20 Hawai’i.
BYU has an overall record of 5-3 against San Diego and is 3-2 against San Diego at the Toreros' home field. San Diego was picked to finish third in the Pacific Coast Softball Conference pre-season poll.
The Red Foxes were 6-2 heading into last weekend’s San Diego Classic II. Their four-game winning streak was cut short after going 0-5 at the Classic to fall to 6-7 on the season. In only its second match-up against BYU, Marist will travel to Provo for the first time on Tuesday and will complete its trip to Utah with a game against PCSC-rival UVU on Wednesday.
The Red Foxes are led by newcomer Nicole Cheek who is hitting a .395 clip alongside a team-leading 17 hits, 29 total bases and three home runs. Danielle Koltz provides power in the lineup, hitting .333 with 10 runs scored and a team-high 14 RBIs. With nine less games under its belt than BYU, Marist has garnered 10 home runs on the season to BYU’s eight. Marist has four pitchers who have all earned a win this season but are led by senior Emily Osterhaus who has an ERA of 1.28 with a record of 2-3 on the season. The pitching staff as a whole has held its opponents to just 19 (1.46 per game) extra-base hits to BYU’s staff, who has given up 65 (2.71 per game) extra-base hits so far this season. Defensively, the team has turned eight double plays and is ranked first in the NCAA with double plays per game as of March 11.
San Diego took a record of 10-12 into the San Diego Classic II last weekend and extended its winning streak to six games in the tournament to improve to 15-12. The Toreros faced Marist in their second game of the tournament and beat the Red Foxes 3-2 in eight innings before ending the weekend with two walk-off wins to close out the Classic.
Senior outfielder Lauren Tomey leads the way offensively for the Toreros. The 2012 First Team All-PCSC member is hitting a .415 clip alongside 34 hits and 42 total bases. The team only has three home runs on the season, but makes up for it in doubles with 24. USD has also out-hit its opponents 198-158 this season and outscored its opponents 81-75. Juniors Cassidy Coleman and Jenny Lahitte have seen a majority of the time on the mound this year. Lahitte has a record of 6-7 with an ERA of 1.69, while Coleman takes an 8-5 record and an ERA of 2.28 into the team’s conference opener against BYU on Friday. The two pitchers combine for 203 strikeouts and have only given up a total of seven home runs. BYU hasn’t played USD since 2010, when the Cougars defeated the Toreros 11-3 in the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic. The Cougars have an overall record of 5-3 against the Toreros and are 3-2 at their home stadium.
In the record Books
There are a number of BYU softball players who are currently setting all-time season and career records at BYU. Senior shorstop JC Clayton is just three hits away from tying the all-time record in career hits set by Angie Quiocho with 265 hits. She has 37 hits so far on the season. Clayton is also fourth all-time in career runs with 162 and second in career batting average at .407. She is currently ranked 60th out of 150 in the NCAA for season batting average at .430. Sophomore Lacey Millett is ranked fifth for the season record in stolen bases with 14. She currently has nine steals on the season and ranks 57th out of 150 in the NCAA. Pitchers Tori Almond and Hannah Howell are tied for fifth in season wins, each with 20 in 2012. They have also both moved up in the area of career strikeouts at BYU. Almond is fourth with 305 and Howell is not far behind in fifth with 301.
Return to the mound
Due to injuries within the BYU pitching staff, former high school pitchers Katie Manuma and Carly Duckworth will each see some time on the mound this season. Both pitchers made their first appearances of the season in the San Diego Classic. Manuma pitched 3.2 innings, giving up two earned runs on six hits. Duckworth pitched one inning and held opponents to zero earned runs on two hits.
Both pitchers also saw a lot of time in the USF Under Armour Showcase. Manuma relieved Hannah Howell in the first game against Maine and earned the save after holding the Black Bears to no runs on three hits. She started the second game of the double header and held Maine to two runs on four hits.
After relieving Manuma in the bottom of the sixth against Maine, Duckworth held the lead for her first win as a Cougar pitcher. Duckworth also pitched a full seven innings against Providence College. She gave up five runs on 11 hits to fall to 1-1 on the season.
Marissa Bravo hales from Upland, Calif., and is currently hitting .403 for the Cougars with 14 RBIs, five doubles and 10 runs scored. Her career and season high is eight games with a hit.
Manuma has had hits in all but five games this season. Her seven-game hitting streak, which is a career high, was from Feb. 9-Feb. 21. Manuma also hit a home run in every preseason tournament, including a grand slam against UC Santa Barbara in the Mary Nutter Classic. She is currently on a six-game hitting streak.Comment on this story
Clayton leads the team with a 19-game hitting streak from Feb. 8-Mar 2. She is currently hitting a .430 clip with a team-high 37 hits and 16 runs scored. Her streak was cut short in the USF Showcase against Maine, but she has had a hit in every game of the season but two.
Where to watch
Jamie Morris is the softball sports information director for BYU Athletic Communications.