The Utah Valley University softball team returns to action this weekend when it heads to St. George, Utah, to take on in-state foe Southern Utah. The Wolverines and Thunderbirds will take part in a doubleheader on Sunday, Feb. 25, at 1 and 3 p.m. MT, at Dixie State University's Karl Brooks Field.
Live stats will be available for both contests by visiting UVUStats.
The Wolverines enter the in-state doubleheader with a 1-4 record on the young season after taking one of five contests at the season-opening Sportco Kick Off Classic from Feb. 9-11, in Las Vegas. UVU's lone win at the opening tournament was an 8-2 triumph over SUU. After falling to No. 16 Minnesota, Creighton and the host UNLV Rebels, the Wolverines picked up the win over Southern Utah and looked primed to defeat North Dakota State in the weekend finale as well. In the end, however, NDSU managed to pull out an extra-inning pitcher's duel, 2-1, in nine innings.
In the victory over the Thunderbirds, Caragh Morris delivered the big blow with a pinch-hit third-inning grand slam to give the Wolverines a 7-2 lead at the time. Lyndsay Steverson, Basia Query and Taleigh Williams also drove in runs in the contest. Query led the way at the plate by going a perfect 4-for-4 with a double, an RBI and a run scored, while Morris went 1-for-2 with four RBIs and a run scored of her own.
Addie Jensen picked up her first NCAA Division I victory in the circle for the Wolverines in the win over SUU by going 6.1 innings and giving up just two runs and six hits. She then followed up that outing in the tournament finale the following day by taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning against the Bison. Jensen ended up allowing just three hits and no earned runs (two total) while striking out three and walking just one in an impressive 8.1 inning outing. Jensen finished the contest as the game's tough-luck loser, however, as the team fell by a run to North Dakota State, which has made the NCAA Tournament in eight of the past nine seasons, in the bottom of the ninth inning via the international tiebreaker rule.
Query leads the Wolverines offensively with a .467 batting average, while Kirsten Andersen is next with a .364 clip. Query also has a team-best three doubles and three runs scored, while Morris leads the way in the power numbers with a home run and four RBIs. Jensen paces UVU in the circle with a 1-2 record and a 2.26 ERA. In three starts, the junior transfer from Salt Lake Community College has thrown two complete games, including her near no-hitter against NDSU on Feb. 11.
About Southern Utah
Sunday's games will mark Utah Valley's second and third contests against the in-state T-Birds on the year. SUU enters play with a 0-10 record after going 0-5 at the Sportco Kick Off Classic in Las Vegas and 0-5 again last weekend at the Purple and Gold Challenge in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The Thunderbirds hold losses on the year against No. 16 Minnesota, NDSU, Creighton, UVU, UNLV, Oregon State, Louisiana Tech (twice), Central Arkansas and No. 7 LSU.
Sarah Murphy leads the T-Birds at the plate with a .533 average and two doubles, while Taylei Williams is next with a .345 clip and a team-best six runs batted in. Samantha Guile holds the best ERA on the SUU pitching staff with a 4.38 ERA and a 0-4 record.
Sunday's doubleheader will be a Hodgkin's Lymphoma Awareness game. Both teams will be wearing special uniforms for the doubleheader that will be auctioned off at the conclusion of the event. Admission to the event is free, but fans are encouraged to make a donation at the gate. All proceeds raised from the auction and donations will go to the Hodgkin's Lymphoma Foundation.
Series history between UVU and SUU
Sunday's opener will mark the 23rd all-time meeting between the Wolverines and T-Birds. SUU holds a slight 11-10-1 series lead, but UVU has won six of the last seven meetings, including the 8-2 victory earlier this month in Las Vegas.
Up next for UVU
Following Sunday's doubleheader, Utah Valley will return to St. George next weekend for the Red Desert Classic. The tournament will run March 2-4, at the Canyons Complex, and the Wolverines will face in-state foe Weber State on March 2, Boise State and Nevada on March 3 and Weber State and SUU again on March 4.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit GoUVU.com.