Senior Caschjen Atagi has 16 hits for the Cougars in 2011. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
BYU softball is hosting its first home opener on Thursday, Mar. 24, against Weber State before facing Utah State on Tuesday, Mar. 29, at Gail Miller Field.
COUGAR QUICK HITS
— BYU senior catcher Jessica Fitu was named Mountain West Conference Player of the Week for the second time this season after earning Hawaii Spring Fling Tournament MVP last weekend. Fitu had eight hits, five runs, 10 RBI and 18 total bases, including two doubles, a triple and two home runs to lead the Cougars to a 5-1 record last weekend.
— Senior pitcher Paige Affleck was listed under the week’s Top Performance by the National Fastpitch Coaches’ Association after going 4-0 with two shutouts and wins over three ranked teams last weekend at the Hawaii Spring Fling Tournament. Affleck had a career-high 13 strikeouts in the Cougars’ first game against No. 16 Hawaii and became the MWC’s all-time career wins leader in a win over No. 9 California. For her efforts, Affleck was also named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Pitcher.
— Sophomore JC Clayton, senior Kristin Delahoussaye and freshman Carly Duckworth were named to the Spring Fling All-Tournament team.
— BYU won three games over ranked opponents in one weekend for the first time in program history, defeating No. 16 Hawaii twice and No. 9 California once on its way to winning the Hawaii Spring Fling Tournament championship.
— BYU received nine votes in the latest ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25, placing the team tied for the 28th-most votes.
OPPONENTS SERIES NOTES
Weber State has never faced BYU despite its campus resting 80 miles north of Provo in Ogden. The Wildcats have had a rough go through the early part of 2011, coming into their game with BYU with a 3-15 record. Like BYU, Weber State has lost games to Oregon and Sacramento State while also falling twice to Hawaii, a team BYU defeated twice last week. Erika James is one of two Wildcats to have started every game this season. James leads the team with a .294 batting average and 15 hits. Weber State utilizes four pitchers in its lineup with Britinie Hardine leading the way with a 2.36 ERA.
BYU and Utah State have a long history dating back to the Cougar softball program’s first year in 2000. The Cougars won the first 19 games of the series before the Aggies recorded their first win in Logan in 2005. BYU has outscored Utah State 36-6 in its current four- game win streak, including a 9-1 victory in Logan last season. Kassandra Uchida has the team’s highest batting average at .329 with 23 hits while Kelley Kaneshiro has team highs of 11 runs and five home runs. In the circle, Mandy Harmon leads the Aggies with a 5.47 ERA and four wins in 21 appearances. Utah State is on a 10-game losing streak.
ALL-TIME CONFERENCE WINS LEADER
Already the record holder in all BYU career pitching categories, senior Paige Affleck became the winningest pitcher in Mountain West Conference history on Mar. 19, winning the 74th game of her career over No. 9 California in the Hawaii Spring Fling Tournament championship game.
BYU has 12 players with at least one stolen base so far this year, including seven steals by junior Jessica Dugas. The Cougars have 36 stolen bases overall, with eight players totaling three or more. Against Florida State and Iona, BYU combined for a season-high four stolen bases.
BYU is 10-0 when scoring at least six runs and 12-0 when leading after five innings. In addition, 11 of BYU’s 14 losses have come by three runs or less.