Junior Krista Hicks has started four games for BYU this season. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
BYU softball is traveling to Lakewood, Calif., to participate in the Long Beach Invitational on Mar. 11-12, facing Sacramento State, Long Beach State, No. 9 UCLA and Cal State Fullerton.
COUGAR QUICK HITS
— BYU is a combined 5-7 all-time against this week’s Long Beach Invitiational opponents. BYU has already faced UCLA and Long Beach State this season, losing to both teams last week.
— The Cougars will play a ranked team for the ninth time this season on Saturday when BYU goes up against No. 9 UCLA. The Bruins defeated BYU 5-2 last week in San Diego.
— BYU senior catcher Jessica Fitu leads the league in batting average (.471), on base percentage (.532), hits (32), RBI (23), doubles (7) and total bases (48). Junior centerfielder Jessica Dugas is also tied for the league lead in walks with 16.
OPPONENTS SERIES NOTES
Sacramento State is off to a slow start, currently sitting at 2-7. Emily McCormick is hitting .367 to lead the team with 11 hits and six RBI. Pitcher Taylor Stroud has been impressive, with a 0.97 ERA in 21.2 innings pitched. The Hornets and Cougars will play for the sixth time in series history, with BYU currently holding a two-game win streak dating back to 2007.
Long Beach State outlasted BYU a week ago, coming out with a 1-0 win after scoring in the seventh inning. The 49ers rely on a pitching staff that allows under three runs a game and that holds opponents to a .198 batting average.
UCLA continued to stay undefeated against BYU in three tries with a win last week over the Cougars. The Bruins are ninth and tenth, respectively, in the polls coming into the week. UCLA also boasts a great bullpen, with no pitcher among the Bruins averaging more than a 2.05 ERA. UCLA has hit 28 home runs this season while allowing just three homers from its opponents. Kellie Fox and Alyssa Tiumalu are both batting over .450 on the season.
Cal State Fullerton is looking to rebound after losing both games of a doubleheader to Troy earlier this week. BYU has defeated Fullerton in the teams’ previous two matchups, most recently a 10-3 win last year. The Titans are led by KC Craddick, hitting .400 and leading the team with 16 hits and seven RBI on the year. Ari Cervantes is Fullerton’s ace with a 5-5 record and 2.65 ERA.
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.
Already this season, BYU has 12 players with at least one stolen base so far this year. The Cougars have 17 stolen bases overall, led by freshman Lacey Millett and junior Tiffany Messerschmidt with three swipes apiece. Against Florida State, BYU combined for a season- high four stolen bases.
BYU is 6-0 when scoring at least six runs and 0-11 when scoring four runs or less. The differ- ence between the Cougars current 8-12 record and something better is slim--nine of BYU’s losses have come by three runs or less and four losses have come by a single run.
SLOW AND STEADY
Senior second baseman Kristin Delahoussaye moved into second place earlier this week on the BYU career walk list, garnering the 107th of her career. Oli Keohohou is in first place with 200 career walks at BYU.