OREM, Utah - Winner of nine of its last 10 contests, Utah Valley University looks to keep up its recent run of success when it begins the Pacific Coast Softball Conference season Saturday in Moraga, Calif., at Saint Mary's.
UVU and SMC will play a four-game set, comprised of a doubleheader on Saturday and Sunday. Each day's games get underway at 1 p.m. MT.
After going 7-1 at the Rebel Spring Games in Kissimmee, Fla., a week ago, the Wolverines (14-9) stayed hot by picking up a home win over Marist on Wednesday. Third baseman Debra Lovell led the way, going 3-for-3 with a solo home run as she helped withhold the Red Foxes, 4-3.
Through the first 23 games of the season, Jachim leads UVU with a .393 batting average, but first baseman Amanda Robinson isn't far behind at .388. Jachim also has 15 RBIs, followed by 12 from Kylee Brinkerhoff and 11 from Robinson. Lauvai's three home runs are tops on the team, but Robinson, Lovell and catcher Jazmyne Cortinas each have two.
Right fielder Morgan Summers also leads the conference in triples with four.
In the circle, head coach Rachel Hartgrove has looked most regularly to the senior-sophomore tandem of Tiffany Mills and Josi Summers. With a 2.25 ERA, Mills is 6-4 on the year with a pair of saves. Summers is 4-5 with a 3.95 ERA. Both pitchers have a one-hitter to their names this season, unfortunately Summers' came in a losing effort against Columbia, 1-0, on March 16.
SMC (7-17) also enters the weekend with momentum, claiming wins in three of its last four. At the Capital Classic in Sacramento, the Gaels picked up three straight wins by defeating Sacramento State, Texas State and Fresno State.
Senior catcher Megan Smith went 6-for-13 during the Classic with four RBIs and a double. Her .351 batting average is best on the squad, and she is second on the team in RBIs with 11.
Pitcher Sarah Lira leads the team with 14 RBIs and three home runs. She has pitched in 12 games for SMC this season.
Alongside Lira, Lujane Mussadi and Jessica Lemmon have made the bulk of the pitching starts for SMC. Mussadi holds a 5-5 record and a 2.31 ERA, while Lemmon is 2-5 with a 3.19 ERA.
Saint Mary's was selected to finish fourth - one spot ahead of UVU - in the preseason PCSC coaches' poll.
The Wolverines and Gaels did not meet last season as the PCSC was then divided into two divisions.
Utah Valley returns to the Beehive State for five games next week, visiting Utah in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, March 26, before hosting CSU Bakersfield for a PCSC weekend series.
Kellen Hiser is sports information assistant at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.
Copyright 2017, Deseret News Publishing Company