Riding a weekend sweep against in-state opponent Southern Utah, the BYU softball team heads to Tucson where it will face the second-ranked Arizona Wildcats in a doubleheader beginning Saturday at noon.
The Cougars posted their first-ever sweep, beating Southern Utah in two games last Friday. Pitcher Maryon Dewitt threw her second shutout of the season, allowing just five hits. Meghann Pricer picked up the win in the second game, pitching no-hit ball in six innings of relief work. BYU had hit just one home run headed into the weekend; it came away with five off long shots by Jackie Ellis, Brooke Cadiente, Julie Wallace and Angie Christiansen. The Cougars also had 12 hits in the second game, its second-highest in a game this year.
Catcher Cassie Martin, ranked third in the nation at her position by USA Today in 1998, has been sidelined all season due to ankle surgery and will not see action against Arizona, but is expected to see playing time in the Cougars' next trip to Santa Clara and Fresno State Mar. 24-25. In her absence, junior Angie Christiansen has taken over behind the plate for the Cougars.
Third baseman Tracy Farley experienced a broken cheekbone and orbital lobe three weeks ago after being struck in the face by a ball. She will be out at least 3-4 more weeks. Megan Johnson, a freshman from Sandy, Utah, will continue at the hot corner until Farley returns to action.
BYU Probable Starters
Â•C -Angie Christiansen - R/R, Jr. (.227, 5 hits, 2 runs, 4 RBI)
Â•1B - Mindy Hanson - R/R, Jr. (.278, 10 hits, 5 runs, 10 RBI)
Â•2B - Jackie Ellis - R/R, Jr. (.342, 13 hits, 8 runs, 6 RBI)
Â•SS - Becca Erickson - R/R, Jr. (.333, 13 hits, 4 runs, 4 RBI)
Â•3B - Megan Johnson - R/R, Fr. (.188, 3 hits, 1 run, 1 RBI)
Â•RF - Brooke Cadiente - R/L, Fr. (.190, 8 hits, 7 runs, 10 RBI)
Â•CF - Liz Smith - L/R, So. (.359, 14 hits, 8 runs, 2 RBI)
Â•LF - Lindsay Hodgen - R/R, Jr. (.333, 14 hits, 11 runs, 1 RBI)
One of two Division I transfers on this year's BYU team, University of Arizona transfer Meghann Pricer will get the start in the first game against her former team. Pricer picked up a win last weekend against Southern Utah to improve her season record to 4-3. Pricer leads the team in ERA (2.24) and strikeouts (39). Ricks College transfer Maryon Dewitt will get the nod in the second game. Dewitt pitched a shutout last weekend to improve to 3-2 and lower her season ERA to 2.36.
BYU Team Leaders
Riding a strong 5-for-8 performance last weekend, outfielder Liz Smith moved to the top of BYU's leader list with a .359 overall batting
average. Smith is tied with fellow outfielder Lindsay Hodgen with the most hits as well (14), while Hodgen is also the Cougar leader in runs scored (11) and stolen bases (8). First baseman Mindy Hanson is tied with teammate Brooke Cadiente with the most RBI (10).
BYU Against Ranked Teams
The Cougars head into the weekend with a 0-3 record against top-25 teams, having lost to No. 1 Washington, No. 11 Stanford, and No. 12 California in early season tournaments. Against those teams, the Cougars were held to a .189 batting average and 14 hits. They scored six runs and were struck out 19 times. BYU's pitchers have a 6.63 ERA against ranked teams, allowing 33 hits, walking 12 and striking out 14.
Arizona has posted a 25-1 record and are ranked No. 2 in this week's USA Today/NFCA Top 25 Poll. The Wildcats boast an offensive assault headed by leadoff hitter Nicole Giordano, who has started all 26 games to compile a .542 batting average. No Wildcat starter hits under .300, and five players bat over .400. The Wildcat pitching staff has recorded a 0.51 season ERA, with no individual pitcher posting an ERA below 0.55. Arizona's lone loss of the season was a 1-0 edging by No. 1 Washington in the Wildcats' second game of the season Feb. 5.
Arizona Probable Starters
Â•C -Lindsey Collins - R/R, Jr. (.389, 28 hits, 27 runs, 32 RBI)
Â•1B - Erika Hanson - L/L, Jr. (.300, 9 hits, 6 runs, 4 RBI)
Â•2B - Katie Swan - L/R, Sr. (.383, 31 hits, 20 runs, 11 RBI)
Â•SS - Allison Andrade - R/R, Jr. (.455, 30 hits, 23 runs, 33 RBI)
Â•3B - Toni Mascarenas - R/R, Jr. (.432, 32 hits, 27 runs, 20 RBI)
Â•RF - Chrissy Gil - R/R, Sr. (.370, 27 hits, 27 runs, 17 RBI)
Â•CF - Nicole Giordano - L/R, Jr. (.542, 45 hits, 28 runs, 14 RBI)
Â•LF - Lauren Bauer - L/L, Jr. (.415, 34 hits, 27 runs, 28 RBI)
Preseason Mountain West Conference Coaches' Poll
BYU was picked by the coaches in the Mountain West Conference to finish last in the conference in the preseason poll released Jan. 26. In-state rival University of Utah, where BYU head coach Mary Kay Amicone played and was an assistant coach for seven years, was picked to finish first.
Mountain West Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll
1. Utah (3) 23
2. New Mexico (2) 21
3. San Diego State (1) 18
4. UNLV 13
5. Colorado State 10
6. BYU 5
Practices are held Tuesday-Saturday from 1-4 p.m.. Player or Coach Amicone interviews may be arranged in advance through Tricia Garner, BYU Athletic Media Relations, at (801) 378-8999. Additional information may be obtained through e-mailing Tricia at firstname.lastname@example.org or by fax at (801) 378-3520.