Sophomore JC Clayton leads the team with 11 runs and is batting .382 for the Cougars. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
No. 25 BYU softball is traveling to Cathedral City, Calif., to participate in the Cathedral City Classic on Feb. 24-26, facing Florida State, Virginia, No. 18 Nebraska, No. 8 Tennessee and Ohio State.
COUGAR QUICK HITS
— BYU is a combined 6-13 all-time against this week’s Cathedral City Classic opponents.
— BYU holds a 1-2 record against ranked teams thus far on the year, defeating No. 19 Texas A&M, 7-2, and losing 3-2 to No. 14 Oregon and 7-4 to No. 18 Stanford. The Cougars will face two more ranked teams, No. 18 Nebraska and No. 8 Tennessee, both on Friday, Feb. 25.
— Senior catcher Jessica Fitu was named the MWC Player of the Week after hitting .750 last week, including a 5-for-5 performance against Cal State Northridge, including the fourth grand slam of her career, a BYU record.
— Sophomore Hannah Howell was also named MWC Pitcher of the Week after winning two games versus SIUE and Cal Poly. Howell held opponents to zero runs and 15 strikeouts in 11.1 innings.
— BYU currently leads the MWC in batting average, on base percentage, runs, hits, RBI, doubles, total bases and walks.
OPPONENTS SERIES NOTES
BYU and Florida State have faced off just twice, splitting a doubleheader in Provo in 2005. FSU has won five of its last six games and is lead by Kelly Hensley with a .421 average, including eight hits and two home runs. Tiffani Brown leads the team with 14 hits, including three triples, while Sarah Hamilton has 53 strikeouts for FSU, sporting a 3-3 record and 1.34 ERA.
This will be the fourth meeting in the last five years between BYU and Virginia, with the Cougars holding a current two-game win streak. The Cavaliers will play their first games outside of North Carolina this weekend after going 3-2 last week. Virginia’s Stephanie Harris has 12 hits and Taylor Williams has
11 to pace the Cavaliers with Melanie Mitchell starting all but two games this year, currently sitting at a 4-2 record and 2.61 ERA.
Nebraska has a long history with the Cougars, leading BYU in the series, 5-3. However, BYU has won three of the last four, including a 5-1 win last season. The Cornhuskers have started off hot this season with a 10-1 record, their only loss coming to Arizona. Taylor Edwards has had a huge year so far, recently breaking an NCAA record by hitting a home run in seven-straight games. She is batting .405 with 15 hits and 19 RBI. Pitcher Ashley Hagemann boasts a team-high 1.51 ERA and 7-1 record, including 62 strikeouts in nine overall appearances.
Tennessee has never lost to BYU in three tries, including a 4-0 win last time the two teams met in 2009. Like BYU this season, the Lady Volunteers have defeated Cal Poly, Boise State and SIUE while losing to Stanford. Seven Tennessee starters are hitting at least .400 led by Shelby Burchell’s .565 average and four home runs. Cat Hosfield has a 0.60 ERA in five appearances.
BYU is also looking for its first win against Ohio State. The Buckeyes have won just two of their last six games. Alicia Herron leads the team with 15 hits and eight RBI. Kasie Kelly has pitched 36.0 innings for OSU and has a 3.50 ERA and 2-1 record.
Senior catcher Jessica Fitu hit the fourth grand slam of her career last weekend against Cal State Northridge, setting a new BYU record for most grand slams in a career and tying for third place all-time in the NCAA record books.