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UVU softball: Wolverines face pair of Big Sky foes this week

By Kellen Hiser

For the Deseret News

Published: Monday, April 29 2013 5:59 p.m. MDT

OREM, Utah Fresh off a four-game sweep of league foe Santa Clara, Utah Valley University will step outside Pacific Coast Softball Conference play for its next three games. UVU welcomes in-state rival Weber State to Orem on Tuesday for a doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m., then ships up to Idaho State for a 4 p.m. contest Wednesday.

Live stats are available for all three games through WolverineGreen.com while live video will also be made available for Wednesday's meeting with ISU through ISUBengals.com.

The Wolverines (31-17, 13-7 PCSC) enter the week on a modest, five-game winning streak. Included in that streak is UVU's sweep of Santa Clara last weekend - a series that saw the Wolverines outscore the Broncos 21-3. With four wins over the weekend, UVU pulled into a second place tie with Loyola Marymount in the PCSC standings and sits just two games behind first-place BYU.

For the series, first baseman Amanda Robinson went a combined 4-for-12 and posted a team-high six RBIs. She also belted a leadoff home run in the first game of the series, her team-leading sixth of the season. Catcher Jazmyne Cortinas and shortstop Krystin Jachim also delivered multiple RBIs over the weekend, driving in four and two, respectively.

Pitching played a big role in the Wolverines' success over the weekend as Tiffany Mills and Josi Summers combined for all four wins. The Broncos managed just three runs and 13 total hits against the duo.

Jachim continues to lead the team in batting average, holding a .386 mark. Robinson is next at .367 and is tied with Jachim for RBIs with 30. Also hitting above .300 are outfielders Kylee Brinkerhoff, batting .321 with a team-high 10 stolen bases, and Kelli Fox, batting .313.

Both members of the Big Sky Conference, WSU (8-35) and ISU (26-19), have been trending in opposite directions this season. With a 3-12 conference mark, the Wildcats sit in last place in the Big Sky standings while the Bengals are in first place and recently clinched a berth in the conference tournament at 12-3.

With a .283 average, 21 RBIs and three home runs, Brooke Silva stands as the top hitter for WSU. In the circle, Morgan Allaband has seen the bulk of the starts and is 4-19 with a 4.75 ERA.

The Wolverines and Wildcats met earlier this season in Ogden. UVU took both games of the doubleheader, using a six-run top of the seventh to earn a comeback win in game one.

Winners of its last six games, Idaho State ranks as one of the top hitting teams in the NCAA. As of April 21, the Bengals stand 14th in team batting average (.332), eighth in home runs per game (1.41, 58 total), 19th in scoring (6.42 runs per game) and ninth in slugging percentage (.550).

Heading up that effort is catcher Vicky Galasso. The sophomore is batting .481 with 17 home runs and 53 RBIs - all of which leads the Big Sky and ranks within the top 15 in the nation. From there, Terah Blackwell is hitting .393 with 47 RBIs, and Amanda Fitzsimmons has 17 home runs to go along with her .375 average.

Fitzsimmons has gotten the majority of the starts at pitcher as well and owns an 11-12 record and a 4.63 ERA.

UVU is 0-2 against ISU this season, falling 11-3 in a neutral site in St. George, Utah, and 8-6 in Orem earlier this month.

From Pocatello, Utah Valley will head to Los Angeles for its final PCSC series of the season. The four-game tilt pits UVU and LMU, currently tied for second place, with a potential NCAA tournament bid on the line.

Kellen Hiser is sports information assistant at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.

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