U Softball Readies for Cougars

By and

The break was short from Mountain West Conference play and not as productive as it could have been, as the U softball team split with Southern Utah last Wednesday.

But all that is irrelevant as the Utes get back to conference play with BYU tomorrow. The Cougars are 24-16 (3-5 MWC) and are coming off a game against Utah State yesterday.

The Cougars have had their struggles as well, battling injuries and long road trips. Just like the Utes, BYU is happy not to have to travel very far for a couple weeks.

“We’re glad to have the chance to stay close to home for the next two weeks,” said BYU coach Mary Kay Amicone.

BYU has a tremendous arsenal, led by sophomore outfielder Oli Keohohou, who is hitting .421 on 40 hits, including 14 home runs. She also has a tremendous .895 slugging percentage.

Junior outfielder Brooke Cadiente is also hitting well, with a .314 average, and as team leader in runs batted in with 37.

The Utes will need to score runs to be able to topple the struggling Cougars, but know they are very capable of sweeping their in-state rivals.

“These are the games that I love to play,” said U centerfielder Molly McLean. “They’re going to come after us. Our confidence has been everywhere this year, so we’re going to have to come to play. It’s going to be fun.”

McLean hit her fourth home run of the year, a solo shot over the centerfield fence, giving the Utes the lead for good in the second game of the doubleheader with SUU.

Ute third baseman Lyndsey “Shaq” Trevis has also been hitting well as of late. She has 4 home runs, including 2 in the last 4 games.

Melissa Stahnke still leads the Utes in home runs with 8, but has yet to hit the ball well in home conference play. However, she did hit a home run in the win versus New Mexico last Friday.

“It’s anybody’s game,” said U coach Mona Stevens. “It really will be who shows up to play.”

Stevens knows the Cougars have lost significant games, including two at home against Colorado State. Utah swept CSU at home last Saturday.

“It’s not like one has dominant talent over the other,” said Stevens. “It really is who puts it together, who shows up.”

Both Heather Bowlin and Jennifer Pursell should pitch for the Utes, and a major part of the games rest on their performances.

Stevens said she felt the Utes would win in a contest of sheer talent. But the Utes must avoid the mental errors that have cost them in games this year.

The doubleheader begins at noon tomorrow at Ute Field.

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