BYU softball: Cougars to close out regular season in Deseret First Duel
PROVO, Utah - The BYU softball team will close out its regular season on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. MDT at Gail Miller Field in the Deseret First Duel against in-state rival Utah.
BYU quick facts
BYU has won the last 15 of its 16 games to close out the season, clinching the Pacific Coast Softball Conference Championship and earning a bid to its ninth-straight NCAA Regional.
Junior Katie Manuma earned her first PCSC Player of the Week nod for hitting a .643 clip alongside five runs scored and six RBIs last week against Southern Utah and Saint Mary's.
Pitcher Tori Almond grabbed her second PCSC Pitcher of the Week honor for her 3-0 record and 0.39 ERA. She also pitched the first no-hitter of her career against Saint Mary’s in game two on Saturday.
BYU awaits to hear where it will travel for the NCAA Regional. Selection Sunday will take place on May 12 at 10 p.m. ET on ESPNU. The Cougars could travel to any of the top-16 ranked teams, who will each host three teams from May 15-18.
The Utes have had a tough schedule in the Pac-12 this season and have an overall record of 24-29-1 and 7-17 in conference play. Utah has had quality wins at home against Arizona and won its series against top-ranked UCLA and Arizona State. Six of Utah’s batters are hitting over .300 with Jackie Sweet and Kate Dickman leading the way at .363 and .327, respectively. Five of these six batters have also combined for 24 of the team's 35 home runs on the season. Sweet leads the Utes in hits, runs scored and home runs, while Dickman has picked up the slack in doubles and total bases. Each one of the three Ute pitchers has an ERA of over 4.00 on the season and each has at least seven wins apiece. Naomi Amu and Mariah Ramirez have made the most appearances at 34 on the season. Amu has held her opponents to just nine home runs, alongside 41 strikeouts. Ramirez has the only team save and leads the pitching staff in strikeouts with 52.
As a team, Utah has a 35-14 advantage in home runs and an 81-55 advantage in doubles over BYU. However, BYU’s opponent average is at .248, while Utah’s Pac-12 opponents raised their average to a .329 clip. BYU also has an advantage on the base paths, stealing 86 bases to Utah’s 33 on the season. The Cougars are currently on a seven-game winning streak against the Utes and haven’t lost to Utah at home since 2008, in a 4-3 decision in the ninth inning. Overall, BYU leads the series at 30-16.
Although not a typical 40-plus win season for the Cougars, there have been many record highlights throughout the year. Pitcher's Hannah Howell and Tori Almond pitched the first perfect game and no-hitter of their careers, respectively. Howell's perfect game was just the second in BYU history, while Almond's no-hitter recorded the 15th at BYU. Senior shortstop JC Clayton has also topped the all-time career charts in hits and stolen bases at BYU this season. She is the first Cougar softball player to reach 300 hits during her career. BYU also grabbed its third conference championship in as many years, with all three being in a different conference. Next year the Cougars will have the chance to make it four conference championships in four different conferences as they join the West Coast Conference. This year's seniors are the second group of seniors to have won a conference championship and advanced to the NCAA's in every year of their careers.
Where to watch
The game will be broadcast via live stats, and live updates will be available on the BYU softball Facebook page.
Jamie Morris is the softball sports information director for BYU Athletic Communications.
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