BYU senior Kristin Delahoussaye leads the Cougars against two ranked opponents this weekend in Honolulu. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
BYU softball is traveling to Honolulu to participate in the Hawaii Spring Fling Tournament on Mar. 16-19, facing Iona, Cleveland State, No. 9 Cal and No. 16 Hawaii.
BYU's Spring Fling Tournament schedule for live stats, click here:
March 16 (Wed) - Iona 12 p.m. HT, 4 p.m. MT
- Cleveland State 4 p.m. HT, 8 p.m. MT
March 17 (Thurs) - No. 9 California 3 p.m. HT, 7 p.m. MT
- No. 16 Hawaii 5 p.m. HT, 9 p.m. MT
March 18 (Fri) - No. 4 seed vs. No. 5 seed 7 p.m. HT, 11 p.m. MT
March 19 (Sat) - No. 1 seed vs. No. 4/5 seed 12 p.m. HT, 4 p.m. MT
- No. 2 seed vs. No. 3 seed 2 p.m. HT, 6 p.m. MT
- Tournament Championship Game 4 p.m. HT, 8 p.m. MT
COUGAR QUICK HITS
— BYU received two votes in the latest ESPN.com/USA Softball Top-25 poll after defeating Long Beach State and No. 9 UCLA last weekend.
— BYU freshman pitcher Tori Almond was named Mountain West Conference Pitcher of the Week for her efforts in against Long Beach State and No. 9 UCLA. Almond started and earned the win in both games while tying a career high with seven strikeouts in each game.
— The Cougars have played at least one ranked team every week of the 2011 and nine ranked teams overall. BYU is 2-7 in those games with wins over Texas A&M and UCLA. BYU will continue its streak in Hawaii by facing No. 9 Cal and the tournament host, No. 16 Hawaii, this weekend. BYU has played eight teams in the latest top-25 polls.
— The Cougars will host their first home game next week when Weber State comes to Provo on Thursday, Mar. 24. The game starts at 4 p.m. MT.
OPPONENTS SERIES NOTES
BYU has never played against Iona, though the teams share a recent bond as two of four members of the Austin Regional in last season’s NCAA tournament. Iona has lost its last three games and has a 5-5 record overall. The Gaels are led by Katie Jansson who bats .407 with 11 hits. Pitcher Sarah Jackson has a 4-0 record and 2.65 ERA.
The Cougars and Cleveland State are also facing off for the first time this weekend. The Vikings have won five of their last six games and are 9-5 overall. Cleveland State’s Jessica Burt is the only starter
hitting above .300 at .340 while also leading the team with 17 hits, including five doubles on the year. Tess Sito is the team’s main pitcher with 13 appearances and a 7-3 record, including a 1.88 ERA. The Vikings are also aggressive upon reaching base, average two stolen bases per game.
Cal has cruised to a 16-2 record and top-10 ranking this season and are winners of seven-straight games. Last week, the Golden Bears outscored theirs opponents 22-5 in the Bayer Cropscience Classic. Cal is led by Jamia Reid, who has team highs of 21 runs, 27 hits and four triples. The Bears have almost wholly relied on pitcher Jolene Henderson in the circle, as Henderson sports a 0.80 ERA, 15-2 record and 116 strikeouts in 17 appearances.
BYU brings a three-game win streak in its series against the Rainbow Wahine, including a 4-0 win in 2006 when the Cougars last traveled to the islands. According to a Hawaii press release, the ‘Bows are hitting .280, with six players hitting .300 or above. Senior utility player Jenna Rodriguez leads UH with a .363 average. Rodriguez, who has seen time as a pitcher, rightfielder and designated player this season, is one of six players to have started all 26 games. Jessica Iwata is hitting .338 and has scored a team-high 28 runs while hitting team-best 10 home runs. In the circle, Stephanie Ricketts has seen the bulk of the action, throwing 108.0 innings this season. She is 12-4 overall and has tallied a 1.56 ERA with 25 walks to 120 strikeouts. Ricketts has fired 15 complete games in 18 starts with six shutouts.
ALMOND AWARDED MWC PITCHER OF THE WEEK
COLORADO SPRINGS -- BYU freshman pitcher Tori Almond has been named MWC Pitcher of the Week for games played from March 7-13 after her efforts in two wins last week at the Long Beach Invitational. The honor is the first for Almond and the third for the Cougars this season. Almond, a 6-1 freshman from South Jordan, Utah, started and earned the wins against host Long
Beach State (2-0) and No. 9 UCLA (6-4). She set a new career-high with seven strikeouts against LBSU, pitching 6.1 scoreless innings. Against UCLA, Almond matched her seven strikeouts and went three up, three down by retiring the Bruin side in the first, third, fourth and fifth innings. The freshman gave up just four hits to the Bruins in 5.1 innings pitched and held the the defending national champions to a combined .192 batting average after they came into the game sporting an average of .319 on the year.
NEVER BEEN DONE BEFORE
Senior catch Jessica Fitu became the first BYU player in history to record five hits in a game, going 5-for-5 against Cal State Northridge earlier this season. Fitu hit a grand slam and had four singles on her way to finishing with six RBI and one run.
BYU has 12 players with at least one stolen base so far this year. The Cougars have 23 stolen bases overall, led by freshman Lacey Millett, sophomore JC Clayton and junior Tiffany Messerschmidt with three swipes apiece. Against Florida State, BYU combined for a season-high four stolen bases.