Bat out of Orem

By By Tom Quinn and

By Tom Quinn

While a well-timed bye week can work wonders for a team, downtime can also be dangerous. At every level in nearly every sport, instances of teams losing their momentum over the course of a short break are well documented.

The U softball team, for example, appeared to be suffering from a post-bye week hangover during this week’s lackluster 2-0 win over in-state rival UVSC. The Utes’ anemic offense managed just two hits, and one of their runs came as a direct result of a Wolverine error.

“I was disappointed that we didn’t come out with the same energy that we had in the games leading up to today’s with Utah Valley State,” said U head coach Angie Jacobs. “I was proud of how this team chipped away and made the necessary adjustments at the plate so that we could come away with a victory.”

Even the usually dependable Meghan Dyer struggled against UVSC. She walked four batters and allowed one hit before fellow hurler Karina Cannon came in to pitch the last three innings.

Fortunately for the Utah faithful, the Wolverines weren’t exactly at the top of their game, either. UVSC didn’t tally a hit until well into the fourth inning, and the Wolverines’ errors alone gave the Utes all of the offense they needed.

Overall, the game was a major step back for a Utah team that was rapidly approaching perfection before taking the weekend off. To make matters worse, the Utes had little time to find their mojo before catching a flight to San Diego for the annual Aztec Classic.

While some of the schools the Utes will face this weekend are relatively unknown (Iona, anyone?), their showdown with Miami University should be interesting, mainly because Utah’s Jacobs was the head Red Hawk until she jumped ship and headed for Utah last summer. Although Miami has lost its last seven, the Red Hawks have both the offensive and defensive firepower to give the Utes all they can handle.

Sophomore Alexis Javier was recently named the MAC Player of the Week, while freshman hurler Meredith Linch received Pitcher of the Week honors in late February.

The Utes will also need to keep an eye on senior slugger Leslie Macedo, who is on the verge of becoming Miami’s career leader in RBI. While Jacobs has been loath to comment about coaching against her former team, you can bet that both she and her former charges will be looking to outdo each other when their paths cross this weekend.

Jacobs said the game against Miami is just the same as any other on the non-conference schedule. She insists that this tournament is nothing but a learning experience for a team that is still struggling to find an identity.

“Playing at the Aztec Classic is another chance for our team to prepare for Mountain West Conference play,” Jacobs said. “We look forward to the opportunities this weekend, but also look forward to playing teams from the Big Ten and Pac-10 in the following week. Those types of programs pose an exciting challenge that we always look forward to.”