Kara Foster leads the Utes with a .448 batting average and six home runs.
Feb. 21, 2008
SALT LAKE CITY - After two weekends on the road to start the season, the Utah softball team takes this weekend off to focus on improvement and rest some injuries.
The Utes stand 7-3 on the year after going 5-0 at the Red Desert Classic and 2-3 at the Kajikawa Classic. The seven wins have included a 3-1 come-from-behind victory over Wisconsin in the season opener, a 9-0 shutout of Southern Utah and a 10-8, nine-inning win over Texas State.
First year head coach Amy Hogue is pleased with how her team is playing.
"We are two hits away from being 9-1," Hogue said. "We have had an opportunity to win practically every game we have been in. That's all I can ask for as a coach."
As a team, Utah is hitting .296 on the year. Kara Foster leads the squad with a .448 average, including six home runs. Other standouts include Staci Hemingway (16 RBI and three home runs), Kristie Keller (12 hits and five doubles) and Devina Quintero (.303 average and 10 hits).
"We have hit the ball off every team we have faced." Hogue said.
A young group of pitchers has also been strong for the Utes. Sophomore transfer Ashley Smuda leads the team with a 5-2 record, including 40 strikeouts, while Brittany Parker has done well as a reserve, entering the game in several high-pressure situations. She has a 1.64 ERA in 21 innings pitched.
"Pitching has given us opportunities to win every ball game," Hogue said. "Ashley is just good and Brit has showed me some things that I wouldn't expect out of a freshman. She has struck out kids in big situations and has done exactly what we've asked her to do."
"We recovered from that well," Hogue said. "Everyone stepped in and played new positions without hesitation. It's nice to have that versatility."
Hogue has preached preparation, attitude and effort to her players.
"We want to have fun and get better," Hogue said. "Every day we're learning something new. We think about who we are, and it doesn't matter what team we're facing. They understand it's about what we do, not about what they do.
"We have a list of things we know we need to get better at. These two weeks of practice we will be getting out the list and working on it. The biggest focus will be getting better defensively. We have made some mistakes, but we are still winning because we have refused to let those mistakes cost us a win."
Utah returns to the field against Wisconsin at the Texas Classic, Feb. 29.