BYU to Face Three Ranked Teams This Weekend
CATHEDRAL CITY CLASSIC
Feb. 23-25, 2012
Big League Dreams Sports Park
Cathedral City, Calif.
No. 21 Oklahoma State
Thurs., Feb. 23
1 p.m. PT
Thu., Feb. 23
3:30 p.m. PT
No. 1 Florida
Fri., Feb. 24
10 a.m. PT
No. 14 Texas A&M
Fri., Feb. 24
1 p.m. PT
Des Moines Field
Sat., Feb. 25
8:30 p.m. PT
COUGAR QUICK HITS
— Last season at the Cathedral City Classic, BYU went 1-4, losing to Florida State, Virginia, No. 18 Nebraska and No. 8 Tennessee before defeating Ohio State. The Cougars have a 8-16 record all-time at Cathedral City and have won more than one game at the Classic only once (2005).
— BYU will play three ranked teams this weekend. The Cougars are 2-0 against ranked teams this year, including wins over No. 11 Oregon and No. 15 Texas A&M, and have won their last five regular season games against ranked opponents, also beating No. 9 Cal and No. 16 Hawaii (twice) in March 2011.
— Senior right fielder Delaney Willard has had a sizzling start to the season. Willard has seven home runs in 10 games this season, including a streak of four straight, becoming the first player in NCAA history to hit a home run in four-straight games or more twice in a career. Willard is currently batting .536 with an incredible 1.429 slugging percentage.
— BYU’s first game of the weekend against Oklahoma State will be the 700th game in program history. BYU’s overall record is 460-239 (.658).
Oklahoma State is ranked in one poll despite a 4-4 overall record. The Cowgirls have three players batting .360 or above but have just four extra base hits as a team. Simone Freeman leads OK State with a 1.75 ERA and 2-2 record.
Pacific is 2-5 this season with three losses coming against ranked opponents. Its last defeat against BYU’s fellow WAC member Nevada came after the Tigers gave up six runs with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. Nikki Armagost easily leads Pacific in both hitting and pitching with a .409 batting average and a 1.56 ERA.
Florida is ranked No. 1 and No. 3, respectively in the two major softball polls and is 9-0 to begin the season. Seven of Florida’s wins have been by eight runs or more but the Gators have been largely untested until this weekend when they will face Texas A&M and No. 5 Washington before going up against BYU. The two schools have never met in softball. The Gators are hitting an outstanding .407 as a team and are led by Brittany Schutte, last week’s National Player of the Week. Schutte is batting .560 with 14 hits, 14 runs, 12 RBI, seven walks, three doubles and two home runs on the season. Pitcher Hannah Rogers has not allowed an earned run in 23.2 innings pitched, racking up a 5-0 record. As a team, Florida has a 0.82 ERA with five shutouts.
After defeating the Aggies in their second game of the season, the Cougars will look to beat a ranked Texas A&M team again and extend its win streak over the Aggies to five. In 2010, BYU defeated the Aggies twice to begin the current streak. They are currently on a five-game win streak after sweeping a tournament at home last weekend. The Aggies have defeated No. 9 Stanford and No. 8 Arizona already this year and are led by Lindsey Sisk who has a 1.26 ERA and 4-1 record, her only loss coming against the Cougars.
BYU will play the Blackbirds for the second time and the first since 2005 in its final game of the Classic. LIU Brooklyn has struggled this season and is 1-9 while batting just .160 as a team. Pitcher Sarah Reynolds has a respectable ERA of 2.89 but is 1-5 on the year. Two players on the LIU Brooklyn roster lead the team with six hits on the year. Opponents have also stolen 26 bases in 26 tries against LIU while the Blackbirds have just a single stolen base in four attempts.
LAST TIME OUT
LAS VEGAS & HENDERSON, Nev. - The BYU softball team finished with a 4-1 record at the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic, winning its first four against Portland State, Cal State Northridge, Memphis and Indiana before falling to DePaul.
An eight-strikeout performance from junior Hannah Howell and a two-run homer by Delaney Willard helped the Cougars defeat Portland State, 4-1 on Thursday.
On Friday, BYU easily handled Cal State Northridge in six innings, winning 11-1 behind an 11-run fourth inning, the second most runs scored by a Cougar team in a single inning in program history. In the second game of the day, BYU again ran away from its opponent, leading Memphis by as many as 10 runs before winning 14-8.
Saturday’s contests were much tougher, with BYU needing a thrilling comeback in the bottom of the seventh inning against Indiana to extend its win streak to six. With one on and two out for the Cougars, BYU batters drew two walks and a hit by pitch to bring in one run and load the bases before senior Jessica Dugas laced a single down the left field line to bring in the game-tying and game-winning runs.
The Cougars seemed to run out of gas in the final game of the week, getting outhit 12-4 against the Blue Demons. BYU tied the game at 2-2 in the top of the fifth inning, but DePaul answered with four runs in the bottom of the fifth to pull away.
HOME RUN HITTER
BYU’s Delaney Willard hit has hit a home run in seven of the Cougars’ first 10 games, including a streak of four-straight games from Feb. 11-17. Willard also hit a home run in four straight in early April last year. The two marks tie the senior for the third-longest such streak in NCAA history and make her the only person in NCAA history to have two streaks of four games or more in a career. Former BYU outfield Stephanie Platt Hopkins is the only other Cougar with four consecutive games with a home run, accomplishing the feat in April 2008, her junior year.
SCORING ALL AT ONCE
Playing Cal State Northridge on Feb. 17, the Cougars scored all of their 11 runs in the fourth inning, giving them their second-highest run total in team history for a single inning. The BYU record for most runs in an inning is 12 at Southern Utah on March 25, 2008.
GETTING OUT EARLY
The Cougars have won two games in less than seven innings so far this season due to the mercy rule, defeating UCSB 12-4 in six innings and Cal State Northridge 11-1 in six. In 2011, BYU had 11 such games but did not get its first until an 8-0 win against Cleveland State 25 games into the season.
Senior Stacie Toney has quietly put up big numbers for the Cougars this year at the plate while also transitioning from first base where she played last season to catcher in BYU’s last few games. Toney leads BYU with five multi-hit games, including four this past weekend at the Desert Classic, going 2 for 3, 2 for 2, 3 for 4 and 2 for 3, respectively, in the Cougars’ first four games.
Against Memphis, Toney hit a single in her first at bat, then sent her second career home run over the fence in the third inning, a 3-run shot that opened up a 6-1 lead over the Tigers. In the fifth inning, Toney reached on a fielder’s choice and eventually scored a run in the fifth inning, then hit an RBI single with
the bases loaded for another RBI. Toney, who is one of two players on the roster to get married this past summer, is second on the team with a .458 batting average and is second with three doubles, six RBI and 17 total bases with a .709 slugging percentage.
Freshman pitcher Caroline Umphlett has begun her collegiate career on a hot streak by starting the season 4-0 with one save. The Elizabeth City, N.C., native has allowed one earned run or fewer in nine of 10 appearances and allowed just two earned runs in the other. Umphlett was also one pitch away from a possible perfect game against Cal State Northridge, allowing a home run on her only hit allowed in the win while giving up no walks.
Against UC Santa Barbara, Umphlett gave up just one earned run and one walk in 5.0 innings while collecting a career high eight strikeouts against the Gauchos. Finally, Umphlett was the pitcher of record in both of BYU’s wins over ranked opponents this year, defeating No. 15 Texas A&M in the first start of her career before earning the win in relief against No. 11 Oregon the following day at the Kajikawa Classic.
Junior JC Clayton currently has the second-best career batting average in BYU history at .398 and has picked up where she left off last season. Clayton is currently on a five-game hit streak and recorded two hits in four of BYU’s five games last weekend. In a win over Memphis, Clayton tied a career high
with four runs scored while hitting the Cougars’ first triple of the season, drawing two walks and stealing a base. In addition to her hitting, Clayton is currently No. 11 on the Cougar career stolen base list.
BYU softball mourns the loss and celebrates the life of its honorary motivational coach Steven Kay Sampson, who passed…