A week removed from splitting a doubleheader against in-state foe Southern Utah in St. George, the Utah Valley University softball team returns to St. George this weekend to take part in the Red Desert Classic. The weekend tournament will run Friday to Sunday at the Canyons Complex.
UVU is scheduled to play five games at the Classic, which includes three against in-state opponents. The Wolverines open the tournament with a Friday clash against Weber State at 5:30 p.m., before facing Boise State (12 p.m.) and Nevada on Saturday (2:30 p.m.). Utah Valley then closes the tournament on Sunday with contests against Weber State and SUU at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., respectively.
Live stats will be available for all five games by visiting GoUVU.
The Wolverines enter the weekend with a 2-5 record after splitting a twin bill against Southern Utah at Dixie State in St. George on Feb. 25. UVU took the opener, 14-1, before dropping the nightcap, 8-0.
Utah Valley scored a school record 13 runs in the top of the first inning of the opening game en route to recording the 14-1 run-rule victory. The Wolverines also sent a single-inning program-record 18 batters to the plate in the frame and recorded an impressive 11 hits on their way to driving home 13 first-inning runs.
Kaylee Bott led the way for UVU in the contest by going a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate with a double and an RBI, while Taleigh Williams went 2-for-3 with a first-inning grand slam, two runs scored and four runs batted in. Both Addie Jensen and Lexi Sorensen pitched well for the Wolverines in the contest, as they combined to allow just two hits and one run en route to recording a combined two-hitter.
In game two, SUU got revenge by belting out three home runs in the contest on its way to earning an 8-0 run-rule victory of its own. As a team, the Wolverines mustered just three hits in the contest.
With the strong weekend, Bott now leads UVU and the WAC at the plate with a .417 batting average. Basia Query is next by currently holding an even .400 clip, while Caragh Morris leads the way in the power numbers with one home run and seven RBIs. Jensen tops the team in the circle, with a 2-3 record and a 2.41 ERA. Her 2.41 ERA is good enough for second in the league.
UVU all-time at the Red Desert Classic
This season will mark Utah Valley's ninth all-time appearance at the Red Desert Classic. The Wolverines enter play with a 12-25 record in Red Desert Classic play after going 1-4 with a 1-0 win over Iowa State of the Big 12 Conference last season.
About the competition
Weber State enters the weekend with a 6-9 record after going 3-2 at the LMU Tournament in Los Angeles last weekend. The Wildcats picked up a pair of victories over Hawaii, as well as another over the host Loyola Marymount Lions. WSU, which was picked to finish second in the Big Sky this year after going 37-22-1 in 2017, also holds wins over Montana, Pacific and Army on the young season.
Friday's opener will mark the 28th all-time meeting between the Wolverines and Wildcats. UVU holds a 16-11 series lead despite having dropped eight of the last nine contests.
Boise State holds a 5-6 record on the year after going 2-3 at the Marucci Desert Classic from Feb. 16-18. The Broncos were scheduled to take part at the Central Arkansas Tournament in Conway, Arkansas, but due to weather-related travel issues were unable to make it to Arkansas for the event. BSU, which was picked to finish seventh in the Mountain West this season after going 33-20 overall a season ago, holds wins over South Dakota, Indiana, St. Mary's, UTEP and Buffalo so far in 2018.
Saturday's ballgame will mark the seventh series meeting between UVU and BSU. The Broncos enter play holding to a 4-2 all-time advantage, but the Wolverines have won two of the last three meetings.
Nevada enters the tournament with a 6-9 record after going 3-2 at Pacific's Libby Matson Tournament in Stockton, California, last weekend. After dropping the first two games of the tournament, the Wolf Pack responded to win the last three over WAC foe Seattle U, Northern Colorado and host Pacific. Nevada, which was picked to finish fifth in the MWC this year after going 30-25 overall in 2017, also holds a pair of wins over Louisiana Tech and another over UTEP on the young season.
Saturday's nightcap will mark the 13th all-time meeting between the Wolverines and the Wolf Pack. Nevada enters play holding to a 10-2 series advantage, but UVU has won two of the last four contests.
SUU enters the weekend with a 1-11 record on the year after splitting a doubleheader against Utah Valley last weekend. The Thunderbirds had dropped their first 11 games of the season before rebounding to beat UVU in their most recent game last Sunday. Southern Utah was picked to finish fifth in the Big Sky this season after going 15-31 overall a season ago.
Sunday's finale will mark the 25th all-time contest between UVU and SUU. The T-Birds enter play holding to a slight 12-11-1 series lead, but Utah Valley has won seven of the last nine meetings against Southern Utah, including two of three this season.
Up next for UVU
The Wolverines continue preseason tournament play on March 9-11, when they head to Fort Collins, Colorado, to take part in the Colorado State Classic. There, UVU will face Idaho State twice, St. John's twice and the host CSU Rams once.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit GoUVU.com.