Following a 1-3 stint over the weekend against Santa Clara and seventh-ranked Fresno State, the BYU softball team will begin its first-ever conference season with doubleheaders against UNLV Friday and San Diego State on Saturday. In its first season as a Division I softball team, BYU will have the distinction of playing in the inaugural Mountain West Conference softball game at noon Friday against UNLV.
The Cougars concluded a tough first non-conference schedule with doubleheaders against Santa Clara and Fresno State last weekend. BYU split with the Broncos, losing 1-0 before taking a 2-0 victory in the second game. Against seventh-ranked Fresno State, both games were called early due to the mercy rule as the Cougars lost 9-0 and 12-3. BYU faced one of the most challenging non-conference schedules possible, facing five different top-15 teams in seven games.
Third baseman Tracy Farley experienced a broken cheekbone and orbital lobe over a month ago after being struck in the face by a ball. She will be out at least two 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 -Cassie Martin - R/R, Fr. (.143, 1 hit, 0 runs, 0 RBI)
Â•1B - Mindy Hanson - R/R, Jr. (.260, 13 hits, 6 runs, 10 RBI)
Â•2B - Jackie Ellis - R/R, Jr. (.269, 13 hits, 9 runs, 6 RBI)
Â•SS - Becca Erickson - R/R, Jr. (.288, 15 hits, 5 runs, 5 RBI)
Â•3B - Megan Johnson - R/R, Fr. (.120, 3 hits, 1 run, 1 RBI)
Â•RF - Brooke Cadiente - R/L, Fr. (.167, 9 hits, 7 runs, 10 RBI)
Â•CF - Liz Smith - L/R, So. (.298, 17 hits, 9 runs, 2 RBI)
Â•LF - Lindsay Hodgen - R/R, Jr. (.271, 16 hits, 12 runs, 1 RBI)
Catcher Cassie Martin, ranked third in the nation at her position by USA Today in 1998, returned last weekend after being sidelined due to ankle surgery and connected for one of BYU's few hits. Martin will catch for Meghann Pricer in two games this weekend and DH the other games.
Meghann Pricer has thrown well, but has struggled from a lack of offensive support, dropping her last three games to go 4-6 on the season. Until the 9-0 loss to Fresno State, Pricer had allowed just six hits and two earned runs in the previous two losses. Pricer leads the team in ERA (2.56) and strikeouts (43), and will likely start in a game each day against UNLV and San Diego State. Ricks College transfer Maryon Dewitt will face both teams as well. Dewitt picked up BYU's win last weekend against Santa Clara before losing to Fresno State to even her record out at 4-4. Dewitt has a 3.88 ERA and has struck out 37 this year. Lindsay Jones will also be available for relief as
BYU Team Leaders
Outfielder Liz Smith remained at the top of the leader list with a team-high .298 batting average among regular players, while Jamie Kreipl improved to .312 off the bench. Smith also leads in hits (15) and is tied for the lead in doubles with three. Fellow outfielder Lindsay Hodgen remains the Cougar leader in runs scored (12) and stolen bases (12). First baseman Mindy Hanson remains tied with teammate Brooke Cadiente with the most RBI (10).
Cougars on the Basepaths
BYU stole a season-high six bases in the 2-0 victory against Santa Clara on Friday, including two by shortstop Becca Erickson. Lindsay Hodgen leads the team with 12.
UNLV comes into the weekend just ahead of BYU in the most recent Mountain West Conference standings with a 13-19 record. The Lobos have lost 11 straight, dropping a pair to Cal-State Fullerton Wednesday. The team is led by junior shortstop Racheal Goodpaster, who has started in 29 games to compile a .398 batting average and lead the team in hits (33) and runs (20). First baseman Charelle Ainslie also has a .310 average for the Lobos.
UNLV Probable Starters
Â•C -Debbie Hatch - (.149, 7 hits, 2 runs, 0 RBI)
Â•1B - Charelle Ainslie - (.310, 27 hits, 18 runs, 15 RBI)
Â•2B - Linda Garza - (.244, 22 hits, 11 runs, 3 RBI)
Â•SS - Racheal Goodpaster - (.398, 33 hits, 20 runs, 20 RBI)
Â•3B - Marisa Martinez - (.179, 10 hits, 1 run, 2 RBI)
Â•RF - Erica Vollweiler - (.257, 26 hits, 11 runs, 4 RBI)
Â•CF - Nicole Miller - (.261, 23 hits, 13 runs, 25 RBI)
Â•LF - Cassi Dysert - (.240, 6 hits, 6 runs, 0 RBI)
Scouting San Diego State
The Aztecs, ranked fourth in the conference ahead of UNLV, are led by Kellie Nordhagen, who leads the team in seven offensive categories. Nordhagen boasts a .404 batting average, second in the conference, and is currently the conference leader in hits (46) and runs (26). The Aztecs come into the weekend with a 17-19 overall record and are riding a four-game winning streak. Last weekend the team held its opponents (San Diego and Michigan State) scoreless in four games.
San Diego State Probable Starters
Â•C - Brooke Johnson - (.000, 0 hits, 0 runs, 0 RBI)
Â•1B - Vanessa Valenzuela - (.200, 10 hits, 4 runs, 4 RBI)
Â•2B - Sarah Bershman - (.326, 31 hits, 10 runs, 14 RBI)
Â•SS - Vanessa Villegas - (.172, 11 hits, 5 runs, 4 RBI)
Â•3B - Summer Bhrom - (.179, 14 hits, 8 runs, 5 RBI)
Â•RF - Kellie Labor - (.323, 31 hits, 18 runs, 13 RBI)
Â•CF - Kellie Nordhagen - (.404, 46 hits, 26 runs, 8 RBI)
Â•LF - Alexis Quierrez- (.194, 14 hits, 8 runs, 2 RBI)
Â•DH - Tiffany Goudy - (.308, 12 hits, 8 runs, 4 RBI)