The Utah Valley University softball team will conclude a stretch of 22 consecutive games away from home to begin the season with contests at Boise State and Montana this week. The Wolverines will first head to Boise for a doubleheader against Boise State on Wednesday, March 14, before capping the week with a three-game series in Missoula against Montana (March 15-17).
Wednesday's twin bill will take place at noon and 2 p.m. MT, at BSU's Dona Larsen Park, and feature both live video and stats by visiting BroncoSports. The three-game set at Montana will then begin on Thursday with a 4 p.m. contest. The two teams will then play again at 4 p.m., on Friday, and close the series with a noon start on Saturday. The series will also feature live video and stats by visiting GoGriz.
Utah Valley enters the week off a 3-2 outing at the Colorado State Classic last weekend in Fort Collins, Colorado. UVU defeated the reigning Big East champion St. John's Red Storm twice at the tournament, as well as Idaho State once.
After beating ISU, 6-3, in the opener, the Wolverines then dropped a 5-3 contest to the host Colorado State Rams. UVU responded with a 10-9 extra-inning victory over St. John's before falling to Idaho State, 7-3. The Wolverines then capped the tournament with a high note by defeating the Johnnies once again by a score of 4-2.
Skylar Cook led the Wolverines on the weekend by hitting .538 (7-for-13) with nine stolen bases (9-for-9), six runs scored, four walks and an RBI. Brianna Moeller and Peyton Angulo too had big outings by hitting .500 and .471, respectively. Moeller went 6-for-12 with two home runs, a double, a triple, four walks, five runs scored and three RBIs, while Angulo extended her current hitting streak to 11 games by going 8-for-17 with five doubles, three walks and four runs scored.
A trio of pitchers too performed well for the Wolverines at the Colorado State Classic, as Lauren Frailey Spendlove went 1-0 with a 2.21 ERA, Addie Jensen went 1-0 with a 4.42 ERA and Makayla Shadle went 1-2 with a 4.67 ERA and a save. Shadle also recorded 20 strikeouts while walking just three in 15.0 innings of work.
The freshman Angulo leads Utah Valley and the WAC on the season with a .471 batting average. She also has two homers, five doubles and eight RBIs. Cook is next with a .364 clip, 13 stolen bases (13-for-13) and nine runs scored, while Basia Query holds a .362 average with five doubles, one home run and eight RBIs.
About Boise State
The Mountain West Broncos enter the week with a 13-8 record after posting a 4-1 outing at UC Riverside's Highlander Classic this past weekend. Boise State picked up wins over UCR, North Dakota State, Colgate and Columbia at the tournament. The Broncos are 8-2 in their last 10 games after also going 4-1 the previous week at the Red Desert Classic in St. George, Utah. BSU's lone loss of that tournament was a 4-3 setback to UVU. Boise State was picked to finish seventh in the Mountain West this year after going 33-20 overall and 12-12 in league play in 2017.
Kora Wade leads BSU offensively with a .466 average, six doubles, one homer and 10 RBIs. Gianna Mancha paces the team in the circle with a 7-2 record, a save and a 3.22 ERA.
Wednesday's opener will mark the eighth all-time meeting between the Wolverines and Broncos. Boise State enters play holding a slim 4-3 series advantage but having won three of the last four contests.
The Grizzlies enter the week with a 7-17 record but will first host Providence for a doubleheader on Tuesday before welcoming UVU to town this weekend. Montana has posted a 2-3 outing in each of the past two weekends. UM first went 2-3 at the Red Desert Classic with wins over Seattle U and Nevada, before going 2-3 with victories over Bryant and Toledo at the Oregon Duck Invite last week. The Grizzlies, who just added softball as an NCAA Division I sport in 2015, won the Big Sky a season ago to qualify for their first trip to the NCAA Championships in program history in 2017. Montana was picked atop the Big Sky this season.
MaKenna McGill leads the Grizzlies at the plate with a .342 average, three extra-base hits and eight RBIs, while Delene Colburn holds a .328 clip, four home runs and 16 RBIs. Colleen Discoll paces the pitching staff with a 2-3 record and a 2.85 ERA.
Thursday's series opener will mark just the second all-time meeting between UVU and UM. Montana holds a 1-0 advantage after defeating Utah Valley, 9-6, last season at the Red Desert Classic in St. George.
On deck for UVU
Following the trip, the Wolverines will finally return home for their 2018 home opener on Wednesday, March 21, against Idaho State and Utah State. UVU will first host Idaho State at 1 p.m., before taking on the in-state Aggies at 3:30 p.m.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit GoUVU.com.