Utes try to pop paper Aggies

By and

The U softball team will play Utah State in Logan this afternoon at 3 p.m., where the Utes will try to build their first three-game winning streak since the beginning of the month.

U pitcher Lindsie Nielsen (6-11) will try to keep rolling against the Aggies.

She has pitched shutouts in two of her last three games and has a 3.50 ERA on the season, with 78 strikeouts and just 26 walks in 104 innings of work.

Ivette Hernandez (7 home runs, 19 RBI) and Kate Nygaard (10 RBI) have been leading a slightly improved offensive attack over the last couple of weeks.

If top hitters Devina Quintero (.309), Diana Phillips (.310, 21 runs) and Bryanne Durrence (.290, 8 stolen bases) can continue their success at the plate, the Utes will have an outside shot at defending their Mountain West Tournament Championship in 2004.

With Nielsen on fire and Brianna Gourdin picking up steam, they will have the starting pitching to contend. But with a lineup that usually features at least three hitters batting .234 or worse, scoring runs is still an issue.

They seem to have made great strides on defense over the last couple of weeks, reducing the frequency of their errors. Sharee Fonoti’s defense at short has anchored the infield and made things easier on third baseman Devina Quintero, who has cut down on throwing errors. This weekend UNLV comes to town for a doubleheader on Friday (starting at 1:30 p.m.) before San Diego State graces Stillwell Field for yet another doubleheader on Sunday.

[email protected]