The Utah Valley University softball team continues a jam-packed April with a trio of non-conference games to begin the week. UVU plays host to in-state foe Utah in a Monday doubleheader at Wolverine Field before traveling to Idaho State for a midweek single on Tuesday.
Monday's twin bill gets underway at 2 p.m. with the annual Pink for a Purpose game. The first 100 fans receive a free pink t-shirt and proceeds go to Swing For Life, a non-profit organization based out of Salt Lake City that is dedicated to raising funds for breast cancer research.
The Wolverines (12-26, 4-5 WAC) face the Utes (16-19, 3-11 Pac-12) for the first time this season after seeing a previously scheduled doubleheader in early March postponed due to weather. That series has been rescheduled for April 21 in Salt Lake City. UVU and Utah split last season's meetings, 1-1.
The Utes enter the week off a three-game sweep at the hands of No. 6 Arizona State. Kate Dickman leads the team with a .413 average, and her 24 RBIs trail Anissa Uretz's 27 and Bridget Castro's 26. Castro paces the team with five home runs on the season. In the circle, Sammy Cordova owns a team-best 3.74 ERA, while Kayce Nieto, holding a 4.98 ERA, has seen the most starts with 19.
Following Monday's doubleheader, Utah Valley makes the short trip north to Pocatello, Idaho, where it faces Idaho State (24-16, 6-4 Big Sky) for the third and final time this season. The Wolverines are 0-2 against the Bengals this year having dropped the season opener to ISU, 7-3 in St. George, and 9-8 in Orem.
The Bengals are one of the top offensive clubs in the country, currently ranked sixth in the NCAA in team batting at .341. ISU also ranks sixth in the nation in scoring, putting up 7.03 runs per game — only 0.05 points behind second-ranked Alabama.
Terah Blackwell and Vicky Galasso have helped power the Bengal offense throughout the season as the duo have clubbed 13 home runs apiece. Blackwell's 59 RBIs on the season see her ranked second in the NCAA in RBIs per game at 1.47, and Galasso sits close behind in fourth at 1.42 per game. In all, eight ISU players are hitting better than .300 this year.
UVU came away with a win in its trip to Pocatello last season, shutting out the Bengals, 3-0.
From ISU, Utah Valley heads to Kansas City for a three-game WAC series with the Kangaroos. The series begins with a doubleheader on Friday. UVU and UMKC currently sit fourth and fifth in the WAC standings, respectively.
Kellen Hiser is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.