Fitu, Howell Honored as MWC Players of the Week

Senior catcher Jessica Fitu and sophomore Hannah Howell were honored as the MWC Players of the Week. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

COLORADO SPRINGS -- BYU catcher Jessica Fitu has been named Mountain West Conference Softball Player of the Week, while teammate Hannah Howell has been named Pitcher of the Week, for games played from Feb. 14-20.

It is Fitu’s fourth career honor and Howell’s first of her career. Fitu’s previous three honors came in 2009 when she was a sophomore and going by her maiden name, Jessica Purcell. The nationally-ranked Cougars went 4-1 last week in the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic in Las Vegas.

Fitu, a 5-9 senior from Walnut, Calif., hit .750 over five games last week. Fitu recorded 12 hits in 16 at-bats and had six walks and a hit by pitch to up her on-base percentage to .826.

She started the tournament hitting 3-for-3 with a run scored, a double and two RBI in BYU’s 10-5 win against Southern Illinois-Edwardsville on Feb. 17. Against Cal Poly on Friday morning, Fitu was walked three times in five plate appearances and followed up with a 3-for-5 performance against Boise State with two runs scored, a double, a home run and two RBI. The Cougars won both games, 8-6 vs. Cal Poly and 12-11 against Boise State. Stanford walked Fitu three times, twice intentionally, to start the action on Saturday morning. She was able to get a hit and an RBI in the 7-4 loss to the Cardinal. In an 11-0 win against Cal State Northridge to cap off the tournament, Fitu was 5-for-5 with a run scored, a grand slam home run and 6 RBI.

Howell, a 5-3 sophomore from Winnfield, La., threw 11.1 innings of relief over three games last week, not allowing an earned run while collecting 15 strikeouts and earning her first two wins of the season. Howell started the week with 6.0 innings against Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, holding the Cougars to no runs and just two hits. She struck out a career-high nine batters, helping BYU come from behind to a 10-5 win. Her second win of the season came against Cal Poly with 5.0 innings of five-hit and five-strikeout ball in the 8-6 win.

No. 25 BYU travels to the Cathedral City Classic this weekend, Feb. 24-26, to take on Florida State, Virginia, No. 18 Nebraska, No. 8 Tennessee and Ohio State.