BYU softball continues its road trip in Honolulu this week, playing six games at the Outrigger Resorts Hawai’i Spring Fling Tournament from Wednesday through Saturday.
The Cougars (8-11) open the tournament with a doubleheader against Longwood at 1 p.m. HT and James Madison at 3:30 p.m. On Thursday, BYU plays host Hawai’i for the second time this season at 6:30 p.m. The Cougars then face East Carolina on Friday at 4 p.m. Tournament play concludes for BYU on Saturday with matchups against Arkansas at Pine Bluff and James Madison at 10 a.m. and 12 p.m., respectively.
All games will be played at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium, and links to live stats will be available on the BYU softball schedule page.
BYU ranks No. 14 nationally in home runs per game with 1.16. Ten Cougars have hit 22 homers in 19 games so far this season, led by Libby Sugg’s four. Lexi Tarrow, Bridget Fleener and Caitlyn Alldredge have each crushed three, while Alexa Strid, Briielle Breland and Allie Hancock have two apiece. Rylee Jensen, Madison Merrell and Ashley Godfrey have also hit dingers.
Junior outfielder Tarrow received her second career West Coast Conference Player of the Week nod in the fourth week of competition. She batted .700 on the week for the Cougars in games against No. 1 Washington, No. 11 Alabama, Northwestern and Portland State. Tarrow scored six runs on seven hits while also adding four RBIs and a home run. Additionally, she stole four bases. Tarrow’s season batting average of .373 is second on the team and her 19 hits tie for second.
BYU assistant coach AJ Tauali’i returns to Honolulu this time as part of the coaching staff after playing first base for Hawai’i from 2007-10. She was one of four team captains in 2010 when Hawai’i advanced to the Women’s College World Series. Tauali’i hit 18 of the team’s 158 home runs her senior season, a national record, and she finished the season batting .298.
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.
The Lancers are 9-6 on the season so far, most recently going 3-2 at the Texaco Malihini Kipa Aloha Tournament with wins over UTEP, East Carolina and Cal. BYU won the only previous meeting between the schools, 9-1, on March 24, 2007, at the Diamond Devil Invitational in Temple, Arizona. Head coach Kathy Riley enters her 21st season at Longwood and has compiled a record of 648-367-1 in 20 seasons with the Lancers.
The Dukes have a 14-2 overall record this season, with their only losses coming to Long Beach State and Louisiana Tech. JMU leads in the overall series, 3-0, most recently winning 10-6 on March 5, 2016, at the Wildcat Invitational in Tucson, Arizona. At the time, the Dukes were ranked No. 10 nationally. James Madison advanced to the Waco Regional in 2017, falling to then-ranked No. 13/17 Baylor twice. Loren LaPorte enters her first year at the helm of the James Madison program. She previously served as an assistant coach with the Dukes for five years, who compiled a record 237-56, including an 88-9 mark in conference play.
The Rainbow Wahine are 10-8 in 2018, most recently going 4-2 at the Texaco Malihini Kipa Aloha Tournament with losses to Cal and James Madison. The Cougars hold the advantage in the overall series, 13-2. The teams faced off earlier this season in the Marucci Desert Classic, and BYU came away with a 10-1 win in five innings. Head coach Bob Coolen enters his 27th season at the helm of the Hawai’i program and 29th overall. He is the school’s all-time winningest softball coach in the 33-year history of the program with a 950-571-1 record.
The Pirates have a 6-14 record this season, most recently going 0-5 at the Texaco Malihini Kipa Aloha Tournament. The Cougars lead in the overall series, 4-0. BYU most recently won, 13-5, in six innings on February 7, 2014, at the Red Desert Classic in St. George, Utah. Courtney Oliver is in her third season with East Carolina and has compiled a record of 49-61 during her time there.
Arkansas at Pine Bluff
The Lady Lions are 3-10 in 2018, having beat Drury, Alabama A&M and Central Baptist College. This will be the first meeting between the two schools. Kevin Montgomery enters his first season at the helm of the UAPB program with more than 16 years of softball experience.