Softball: Utes Travel to Texas for Texas A&M Tournament


Francisco Olivo

University of Utah Women’s Softball Team sophomore pitcher/utility Hailey Hilburn (30) in an NCAA Regional Game vs. The Fordham Rams at Duke Family Softball Stadium, Salt Lake City, UT on Thursday,May18, 2017 (Photo by Francisco Olivo | Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Casey Overfield, Sports Editor

Midway through its preseason play, the University of Utah softball team is traveling to College Station, Texas, to play in the Texas A&M tournament at the Aggie Softball Complex. The team will play five games over the course of three days.  

After a successful weekend in California at the Mary Nutter Classic two weeks ago, Utah had this past weekend off to prepare for this trip to Texas. Fully rested and ready to play, Utah will face No. 6 Texas A&M and Texas State twice, and Louisiana Tech once starting Friday morning and going until Sunday morning.

“Going into this tournament, I am honestly looking forward to all of our games,” said sophomore Ryley Ball. “Going into these games, I think that a lot of us don’t really know who we are playing, we just show up and play the games.”

On Friday, the Utes will kick off their tournament weekend against Texas State at 10 a.m CT. and Texas A&M at 5:15 p.m. CT. The two games on Saturday will feature a rematch against Texas A&M at 3 p.m. CT, and Louisiana Tech at 5:15 p.m. CT. The weekend will conclude on Sunday with a 9 a.m. CT game against Texas State.

Now that they have been playing together for awhile, the Utes are ready for this tournament as they start to build up anticipation for Pac-12 play in just a few weeks.

Momentum is key on the softball diamond, and when the team is playing more than one game in a day, energy levels can drop. It is important that all of the players keep their stamina up to push them through a long day and weekend.

“We have been working on keeping up our pace,” Ball said.  “If we can get energy in the first inning and keep up that energy through the game in the seventh inning that is good.”

Utah has a strong and confident group of girls who will be helping the team accelerate through the remainder of their preseason matchups.  

Many of the players are looking forward to this weekend of travel and are excited to visit a new state. The Utes are eager to experience playing in an unfamiliar stadium against teams they do not typically match up against.  

“I have been working on hitting changeups, so I am looking forward to seeing some new pitchers and adapting to what they are throwing my way,” said junior pitcher, Hailey Hilburn.  

The whole team has been smoothing out its situational play and preparing for the mental side of the upcoming games. The Utes have been working to perfect their in-game mindsets to be prepared for any situation that may arise.

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