BYU softball heads to Cathedral City, California, this week to compete in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic this Thursday through Saturday.
The Cougars (4-6, 0-0 West Coast Conference) will face two ranked teams along with three other matchups. They open the tournament with a doubleheader against No. 11 Tennessee at 10 a.m. PT and Missouri at 1 p.m. On Friday, BYU plays No. 4 Oklahoma and CSUN at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., respectively. The tournament will wrap up for the Cougars on Saturday with Fresno State at 7:30 p.m.
All games will be played at the Big League Dreams Complex in Cathedral City, California, and can be streamed on FloSoftball with a subscription. Links to the stream and live stats will be available on the BYU softball schedule page.
BYU ranks No. 8 nationally in home runs per game with 1.50. Nine Cougars have hit 15 homers in 10 games so far this season, led by Libby Sugg’s four. Caitlyn Alldredge, Bridget Fleener and Allie Hancock have each crushed two, while Briielle Breland, Ashley Godfrey, Madison Merrell, Alexa Strid and Lexi Tarrow have one apiece.
At the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, BYU will face two ranked teams that lost their first games of the season last week: No. 4 Oklahoma and No. 11 Tennessee. The Sooners fell from the top spot after losing to Boston University, 3-4. The Volunteers were ranked No. 10 last week before dropping a 2-3 loss to Florida Atlantic.
Sophomore pitcher Arissa Paulson earned her second career West Coast Conference Pitcher of the Week Award in the second week of play. She pitched 18.2 innings in three games for BYU with a 2.41 ERA. Paulson tallied 19 strikeouts while giving up just five earned runs in her contests. She finished with an opposing batting average of .164, scattering just 11 hits in 18.2 innings.
Junior catcher and team captain Sugg has been named to the 2018 USA Softball College Player of the Year Watch List. She earned NFCA All-Pacific Region First-Team honors and was named to the All-WCC Second Team last season. Sugg led the team in RBIs and home runs with 56 and 13, respectively, while hitting .356.
No. 11 Tennessee
The Lady Vols finished the 2017 season with a 48-12 record, 16-7 in SEC play. Tennessee advanced to the Knoxville Super Regional last season, beating Texas A&M once and falling to the Aggies twice. UT leads in the overall series, 6-1, most recently winning 15-3 on February 11, 2016, in the Kajikawa Classic. The Lady Vols were ranked No. 8/9 at the time. Co-head coaches Ralph and Karen Weekly enter their 17th season at the helm of the Tennessee program. They have compiled a record of 803-245-2 at UT.
In 2017, the Tigers had a 29-28 overall record, going 7-16 in the SEC. Mizzou competed in the Eugene Regional in 2017, where it dropped two games to Wisconsin and Illinois-Chicago. Missouri carries the edge in the overall series, 2-1. In the last meeting, the Tigers took home a 9-0 win on May 19, 2016, in the Columbia Regional. Gina Fogue became Mizzou’s interim head coach on January 29, 2018, after serving as an assistant coach since 2013 and the director of operations from 2011-12.
No. 4 Oklahoma
The national champions for two-consecutive years posted a record of 61-9, 17-1 in Big 12 play. Oklahoma beat Baylor, Washington, Oregon and Florida twice in the 2017 College World Series. The Sooners lead the overall series with the Cougars, 5-0. Last year at the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge, Oklahoma earned a 7-1 victory. Patty Gasso enters her 24th season as the head coach at OU, compiling a 1,146-322-2 record while there.
The Matadors finished 2017 with a 31-22 overall record, 11-10 in Big West competition. BYU leads in the overall series, 5-1, most recently winning 4-1 on March 2, 2012, at the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic. Head coach Tairia Flowers has been at the helm of the CSUN program for four seasons. She has collected a coaching record of 137-87.
In 2017, the Bulldogs went 35-23 overall and 14-9 in the Mountain West. Fresno State advanced to the Seattle Regional last season, beating Montana and falling twice to Michigan. The Bulldogs lead in the overall series, 10-6. BYU most recently won last year, 8-6, at the Fresno State Invitational. Linda Garza is in her second year as head coach at Fresno State. She has a career record of 180-158-2 as a head coach.