Willard Verizon WAC Hitter of the Week
DENVER – BYU softball’s Delaney Willard and Hawai‘i’s Stephanie Ricketts have been named the Verizon Western Athletic Conference Hitter and Pitcher of the Week, respectively, for Feb. 6-12. This is the first-ever honor for Willard and the first of the season and eighth overall for Ricketts.
Willard, a senior right fielder from Camarillo, Calif., led the Cougars to a 3-2 record at the Kajikawa Classic last week, including wins over No. 15 Texas A&M and No. 11 Oregon. She was 9-for-17 (.529) with three home runs, two doubles, nine RBI, six runs scored and a 1.235 slugging percentage. Willard had a career-high four hits vs. Texas State and scored four runs against UC Santa Barbara, tying a BYU record. She also drove in all five of BYU’s runs in Thursday’s games and totaled 21 total bases on the week, an average of more than four per game.
Ricketts, a senior from San Jose, Calif., picked up three complete-game wins during opening weekend en route to Most Valuable Pitcher honors at the Paradise Classic. She posted a 1.33 ERA, allowing four runs in 21.0 innings of work. She also had 24 strikeouts and only five walks on the week. Against DePaul, she fired a two-hit shutout and faced just two batters over the minimum, retiring 17 batters in a row from the first through the sixth innings. It marked the 24th shutout of her career and first of the season.
Other Hitter of the Week nominees included: Fresno State’s Kaitlin Griffin hit .364 with two homers and six RBI ... Jessica Iwata of Hawai‘i hit .533 with two doubles, one homer and seven RBI … Louisiana Tech’s Jenna Frandrup hit .556 with five hits and five walks … Sam Puzey of Nevada hit .385 with one double and two RBI on the week … New Mexico State’s Tiare Jennings hit .462 with two home runs and seven RBI as the Aggies went 4-0 to start the season … Jessica Garcia of San Jose State hit .429 with a double, a home run and four RBI … Utah State’s Lindsey Marquez hit .286 with a double and two RBI on the week.
Other Pitcher of the Week nominees included: Brigham Young’s Caroline Umphlett posted a 3-0 record with a 1.70 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 12.1 innings pitched … Michelle Jones of Louisiana Tech went 1-1 with a 1.50 ERA on the week … Nevada’s Mallary Darby went 1-1 with a 1.83 ERA and 13 strikeouts ... Alex Newman of New Mexico State went 3-0 with a 4.38 ERA and 11 strikeouts on the week ... Utah State’s Dani Chaplin went 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA and six strikeouts in 4.0 innings of work.
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