(Photo by Jonathan Hardy/BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah - Riding a five-game win streak and winners of 10 of their last 11, the BYU softball team hosts a non-conference doubleheader on Tuesday against UMKC before traveling to play Western Athletic Conference opponent Fresno State on Friday and Saturday.
The Cougars swept their series last weekend against New Mexico State, putting them atop the conference standings at 3-0. Fresno State is 2-1 after playing at Nevada. UMKC, in town on their way down to a Summit League series against Southern Utah, is 12-13 on the year.
BYU is led by senior Delaney Willard who is ranked in the top 11 in five different NCAA categories, including batting average, home runs and RBI per game. Senior Jessica Dugas is on a nine-game hit streak.
In the circle, junior Hannah Howell leads the team with a 9-4 record and 60 strikeouts this season. Sophomore Tori Almond has a team-high 2.39 ERA and 54 strikeouts, earning two wins last weekend to go to 5-2. Freshman Caroline Umphlett is 5-2 with a 3.09 ERA and picked up her second save of the season over the weekend.
Tues., Mar. 27
5 p.m., 7 p.m. MT
Gail Miller Field
Fri., Mar. 30
6 p.m. PT
Sat., Mar. 31
1 p.m., 3 p.m. PT
COUGAR QUICK FACTS
— BYU will welcome UMKC to Provo for the first time in a doubleheader on Tuesday. The Roos are playing BYU and UVU before a weekend series against Summit League opponent SUU.
— The Cougars travel to Fresno for their first-ever WAC road trip this weekend. BYU is 2-6 all-time against Fresno State and 11-10 overall at Bulldog Diamond including tournament games against neutral opponents in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2009.
— Picking up her second WAC Hitter of the Week award this week, senior Delaney Willard has emerged as an All-America candidate. The right fielder is ranked in the NCAA top-15 in five different categories, including batting average (2nd, .500), slugging percentage (4th, 1.039), RBI per game (4th, 1.52), on base percentage (6th, .585) and home runs per game (8th, 0.41).
— BYU is currently on a 25-game home win streak, good for second longest in the country. Last season, the Cougars went 14-0. BYU is 4-0 at home this year. The Cougars have won five straight and 10 of their last 11 of their last seven, with the lone loss coming against No. 5 Arizona State.
UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI-KANSAS CITY
• BYU and UMKC have not played each other in nine seasons. This is the Roos’ first-ever trip to Provo.
• UMKC is a member of the Summit League and advanced to the championship last season before losing to North Dakota State.
• Kaelene Curry leads the Kangaroos with a .372 average with a team high 16 runs and 29 hits. Cinda Ramos has a team-best 2.09 ERA and 8-5 record.
• Among common opponents, BYU and UMKC both have lost to DePaul. UMKC has also lost twice to future Cougar opponent Hawai’i this season.
• BYU is 2-5 at Bulldog Stadium but won the last meeting in Fresno between the two teams in 2009 in a 2-0 decision.
• Fresno State was tabbed by WAC coaches to take first place in the conference preseason poll.
• The Bulldogs have lost four of their last six, including three to top-25 teams and once to Nevada last Saturday.
• Fresno State has stolen just 10 bases in 13 tries this year while allowing 29 in 38 attempts to its opponents.
• Stesha Brazil leads the Bulldogs with a .327 average, notching 34 hits including eight doubles, four triples and three home runs.
• Michelle Moses is the dual threat for Fresno State, leading the team with a 1.91 ERA and 150 strikeouts while also hitting a WAC-best 12 home runs out of a total 23 hits.
• Among nine common opponents, BYU and Fresno State have both defeated Saint Joseph’s and Charlotte. BYU also beat Oregon, Purdue, Long Beach State and Cal State Northridge, all teams that have defeated Fresno. The Bulldogs defeated San Diego State, a team the Cougars lost to, 1-0. Both teams have lost to DePaul and Arizona State this season.
UNBEATABLE AT HOME
The Cougars have the second-longest home win streak in the nation, having currently won 25 in a row, including a 14-0 season last year. BYU is 4-0 this season at Miller Field. Louisiana-Lafayette has a 33-game home win streak, currently the longest in the nation.
• Senior Jessica Dugas is currently on a nine-game hitting streak, her longest of the season and second longest of her career.
• Dugas has four multi-hit games in the Cougars’ last five contests.
• The senior’s career high is 11-straight games, tied for the 11th longest in BYU history.
• In BYU’s 12 games during the month of March, Dugas has had at least one hit in 11 and reached safely in all 12 games.
Senior right fielder Delaney Willard has proven to be one of the best hitters in the country this season, ranking atop the WAC in multiple categories and in the top 10 in multiple national rankings. Some of her highlights include:
• One of only two players (Camilla Carrera, UTEP) ranked in the top 11 in the nation in batting average, RBI per game, slugging percentage, on base percentage, home runs per game and home runs
• 13 multiple RBI games, including two with 5 RBI (Cal State Northridge, New Mexico State)
• Had 11-game hit streak, tied for 11th longest all-time at BYU
• Hit 7 home runs in the first 10 games of the season
• Hit a home run in four-straight games, becoming the first player in NCAA history to do so on two separate occasions
• Hit safely in 13 of the first 14 games of the season
• Hit two grand slams already this season, giving her four in her career which is the second-most all-time at BYU
• Earned two Verizon WAC Player of the Week honors
• Went 4 for 4 with a double and a home run against Texas State
• Hit a walk-off, three-run homer in the third game of the series vs. New Mexico State, her second home run of the game