Cougars Ready for NCAA Regional

PROVO, Utah -- The BYU softball team will play in its seventh-straight NCAA Regional beginning Thursday in Seattle against No. 21 Auburn at 3:30 p.m.

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NCAA Seattle Regional Schedule

Thursday

Game 1 - 3:30 p.m Auburn vs. BYU

Game 2 - 6 p.m. Portland State vs. Washington

Friday

Game 3 - 3 p.m. Winner of game 1 vs. winner of game 2

Game 4 - 5:30 p.m. Loser of game 1 vs. loser of game 2

Game 5 - 8 p.m. Winner of game 4 vs. loser of game 3

Saturday

Game 6 - 2:30 p.m. Winner of game 3 vs. winner of game 5

Game 7 - 2:30 p.m. Winner of game 6 vs. loser of game 6 (if necessary)

COUGAR QUICK HITS

— BYU has a 8-13 regular-season record against 2011 NCAA tournament teams. Before Mar. 5, the Cougars went 1-11 against such teams, but have since gone 7-2 against tourney teams.

— After starting the season with an 8-13 record, BYU has won 30 of its last 33, 26 of its last 28 and 14 of its last 15 games with a current three-game win streak, improving its record to 38-16 overall.

— In the last 28 games, BYU has averaged a 7.8 - 1.3 margin of victory with 13 shutouts and 10 games scoring in double-digits.

— BYU senior pitcher Paige Affleck was named MWC Pitcher of the Year and head coach Gordon Eakin was named MWC Coach of the Year for the third-straight season on Tuesday. Six Cougars were also named to the All-MWC team.

OPPONENTS SERIES NOTES

AUBURN - This is Auburn’s eighth berth in the NCAA Tournament since 2002. Auburn is 6-14 all-time in NCAA Regional play and has advanced to the regional championship game one time, with that coming in 2006. BYU and Auburn have never faced each other.

The 2011 senior class of Katie Colton, Kelley Smiley, Caitlin Stangl and Kyndall White helped give the program another first by advancing to a NCAA Regional for a record fourth consecutive season. This season the senior class has led the Tigers to the program’s longest winning streak (15 games) the program’s first series win over a top five team, the most wins over top 25 teams (seven) since 2005 and the program’s longest stay in the NFCA top 25 since 2006, current at 12 consecutive weeks.

Morgan Estell leads the team with a .378 batting average including team highs of 59 hits and 17 doubles. The Tigers split time between three pitchers and are led by Angel Bunner’s 1.58 ERA and 16-6 record. Jenee Loree is second on the team with a 2.61 ERA in 24 apperances while Lauren Schmalz leads thea team with 143 strikeouts.

WASHINGTON - The Huskies finished 9-12 in the Pac-10 this year, tied for sixth with UCLA. The team has advanced to the Women’s College World Series three times in the last four seasons and have been to the NCAA Super Regional five of the last six seasons.

BYU defeated Washington when the Huskies came to Provo last fall but were shut out last season when the two teams met in regular season play.

Senior infielder Jenn Salling leads the Huskies with 15 doubles and is second on the team with a .373 batting aver- age, .503 on-base percentage, .648 slugging percentage, 92 total bases and 43 RBIs while starting all 48 games for Washington.

PORLTAND STATE - Portland State comes in after winning the Pacific Coast Softball Conference title. The Vikings and Cougars faced off earlier this year in BYU’s second game of the season, losing by a single run in eight innings. Cougar catcher Jessica Fitu hit two home runs in the game while pitcher Paige Affleck no-hit Portland State through seven innings.

Jenna Krogh leads the team with a .405 batting average. Nicole Latham and Anna Bertrand split time in the circle with identical 16-8 records while Latham posted a 1.71 ERA to lead the team. As a team, the Vikings boast a .311 bat- ting average and a 2.03 ERA.

UNBEATABLE AT HOME

The Cougars have the third-longest home win streak in the country, having won 20-straight games, including a 13-0 record this season. BYU has won 10-straight at home against conference opponents and 34 straight against non-conference foes.

Texas A&M - 24

BYU - 20

Alabama - 20

Jacksonville - 16

GRAND RECORDS

Senior catcher Jessica Fitu hit the fifth grand slam of her career and second of the season at home vs. UNLV, moving her into third place in NCAA history for career grand slams. Fitu’s fourth grand slam earlier this year against Cal State Northridge set a new BYU career record.

In addition to her grand slam record, Fitu’s career RBI total is currently tied for 15th all-time in NCAA history while her hit by pitch total ties her for 8th in the NCAA record book.

SIX COUGARS EARN ALL-MWC, AFFLECK NAMED PITCHER OF THE YEAR

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- BYU senior Paige Affleck earned the Mountain West Conference Pitcher of the Year award and BYU head coach Gordon Eakin captured MWC Coach of the Year honors for the third consecutive season as selected by the league’s six head coaches.

Affleck, a New Harmony, Utah, product, is the second Cougar hurler (Christie Zinanti, 2009) to earn the MWC Pitcher of the Year award. This season, she went 9-2 in Conference play, including six complete games, with a league-low earned run average of 1.18. The right-hander also led the league in strikeouts with 62 and was second in opposing batting average (.222) and innings pitched (65.1).

Eakin collected his third MWC coaching honor (2009, 2010, 2011) after guiding BYU to its sixth regular-season league crown and seventh consecutive NCAA Regional appearance. In his 9th season as head coach, Eakin led the Cougars to an 11-2 Conference record (38-16 overall) this season, push- ing his all-time record at BYU to 369-158 (.700).

BYU led the conference with six players named All-MWC, including Affleck, senior third baseman Caschjen Atagi, senior second baseman Kristin Delahoussaye, freshman left fielder Carly Duckworth, junior center fielder Jessica Dugas and senior catcher Jessica Fitu.

Affleck, Delahoussaye and Fitu were named to the team for the third time in each of their respective careers while Atagi, Duckworth and Dugas earned their first-career selections.

UNLV senior Ashli Holland was named MWC Player of the Year, San Diego State’s Hayley Miles gar- nered MWC Freshman of the Year acclaim.

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