With the 2014 WAC Softball Tournament set to begin Thursday, Utah Valley University will bring the regular season to a close with a Tuesday doubleheader at crosstown rival BYU. Tuesday's twinbill gets underway at Gail Miller Field in Provo at 5 p.m. MT, with the nightcap scheduled for 7.
Utah Valley (14-38) will be looking to snap a five-game skid against a BYU (28-21) club that has won its last 10 games and 14 of its last 15. With a 5-9 conference record, the Wolverines finished WAC play in fifth place and will be the fourth seed at the WAC Tournament later this week. The Cougars are 9-2 in West Coast Conference action and hold a two-game lead atop the league standings with one series still to play.
Last week, UVU dropped a pair to No. 1 Oregon in Eugene but not before giving the top-ranked Ducks all they could handle in the doubleheader's second game. Trailing 4-1, the Wolverines battled back to tie the score at 4-4 in the late innings behind a big, two-RBI triple from Morgan Summers. UO got a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth to settle the final score at 5-4 and dodge the upset.
BYU is coming off a three game sweep of WCC rival Pacific in Stockton, California. Sydney Broderick has led the Cougars' offensive effort this season, holding a .371 average with 29 RBIs. Meanwhile, slugger Katie Manuma has a team-leading 10 home runs on the year with 43 RBIs and a .255 average. In the circle, Tori Almond holds a team-best 2.23 ERA followed by McKenna Bull's 3.31 ERA. Bull has 24 starts on the season, while Almond has received 17 starting nods.
Freshman Hailey Kofler continues to lead Utah Valley in batting with a .288 average, while fellow freshman Brianna Gatlin holds the RBI lead at 26. Senior Amanda Robinson, who missed the Oregon series, has hit a team-high 10 homers this season, including nine last month. Pitcher Josi Summers holds a 4.38 ERA in 156.2 innings pitched this season and is coming off a stellar outing against the No. 1 ranked Ducks. Summers posted a 2.82 ERA in 8.2 innings of work against UO last week.
Tuesday marks the end of the season series between UVU and BYU — two schools separated by just four miles worth of University Parkway. The Cougars won the first meeting, 9-0, at Wolverine Field on April 8.
With the regular season concluded, Utah Valley gets the WAC Tournament started Thursday in Seattle when it faces fifth-seeded Bakersfield in the opening game. First pitch is scheduled for 12 p.m. MT at Seattle U's Logan Field.
Kellen Hiser is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.