Home sweet home at last

By By Tom Quinn

By Tom Quinn

Over the last few months, the University of Utah softball team has racked up more frequent flyer miles than most airline pilots. The Utes have stayed in substandard hotels, eaten take-out and played teams from colleges that most people have never even heard of.

After living as nomads since their season began in early February, the Utes are just days away from playing their first game of the season at Ute Field. And as far as they are concerned, it’s about damn time.

“We’re all so excited to finally have our first home game,” said senior pitcher Meghan Dyer. “We’ve been playing road games for what seems like forever. It will be so nice to finally play in front of a home crowd, and opening against BYU just makes the whole thing that much more exciting.”?

Oh, yeah, that. As fate would have it, Dyer and company will christen Ute Field with a pair of single games against archrival BYU, a fact that virtually guarantees that fans from both teams will be in full force.

Like Utah, the Cougars put together a less-than-stellar start to their conference schedule last weekend, dropping a pair of very winnable games to?UNLV. Barely a year removed from tying for first in the MWC, BYU presently sits in the middle of the pack at a disappointing 2-2.

The Utes, in comparison, are 1-3 after dropping two games to UNLV and splitting last weekend’s series with SDSU. The Utes, however, feel like they have plenty of talent to compete with the rest of the Mountain West, and insist that their record is not indicative of how well they played last weekend.

“I don’t think the outcome from last weekend reflected how well we actually played,” said head coach Angie Jacobs. “We were in every game against UNLV?and San Diego State, and we even put ourselves in position to win them. But I don’t think we took advantage of the opportunities we had in front of us to come away with the wins.”

For the Utes to have a chance against the Cougars, Dyer and fellow hurler Karina Cannon will have to be at the top of their respective games.

BYU senior Jodi Norton leads an impressive group of sluggers, any one of which could conceivably have a big day against Utah’s bullpen.

“They have some good hitters on their team,” Dyer admitted. “They’re all dangerous, but we have a pretty good defense. It should be a pretty good?match-up.”

The Cougars also boast a deep group of pitchers, the most dangerous of?which is Christie Zinanti, a freshman whose 2.57 ERA is not only tops on the team, but also puts her near the top of the MWC in that category.

“We’re pretty evenly matched,” said Dyer. “Depending on who brings their A-game, this one could go either way.”?

Lisa Teran

The U softball will play its first home game of the season on Friday against BYU.