Jackie Wong has strung together a four-game hitting streak, which is currently a team best.
Feb. 25, 2003
At The Plate
The Utes host the Red Desert Classic in St. George, Utah, Feb. 28-March 2. The tournament will be played at the St. George Complex, with game times at 11:00 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. Utah will open play against Alabama Birmingham and CS Northridge on Friday, followed by Georgia Southern and No. 25 Oregon on Saturday and finally Arkansas on Sunday.
Recapping Last Week
Utah continued its trend this past weekend at the Softball by the Beach Tournament in Santa Barbara, Calif., by going 2-3 overall. It was the third tourney in a row Utah posted the same record. The Utes began the weekend with an 8-3 victory over San Diego. Jen Pursell threw a complete game, allowing no earned runs, while Glennis Donnelly knocked a home run. Game two and three saw Utah get blanked by Cal Poly (4-0) and Iowa State (2-0). Utah dropped its third straight with a 6-3 loss to Kansas. Determined to end on a good note, Pursell left off where she started by grabbing the win in a complete-game shutout over Cal State Northridge (1-0).
The Utes travel to the Sunshine State to play in the Florida State Invitational, March 7-9. Utah will match up against Florida International, No. 15 Michigan and Providence before bracket play begins on Saturday afternoon. Other ranked teams in the Invitational, include No. 3 Nebraska, No. 11 Florida State and No. 19 Texas A&M.
"I am really pleased with our defense, it's really starting to come along. I know one of our strengths is going to be hitting, we just haven't broken out of the gates offensively yet."
"This weekend it will be nice to play closer to home, in a tournament that we are obviously familiar with. We are excited to play some tough games and about the direction the team is heading."
Ups And Downs
Stranded--The Utes have left 109 runners on base in 15 games. That's an average of just over seven runners per game and the Utes have lost six of their nine games by three runs or less. Robbery--Utah has succeeded on 17-of-19 steal attempts this season.
Top Opponent Turbulence
Utah has posted a 1-5 record against ranked opponents this season. The sole win came against No. 13 Arizona State at the Sun Devils own tournament on Feb. 9. The Utes battle No. 25 Oregon at the Red Desert Classic this weekend and will face No. 15 Michigan at the Florida State Invitational the following weekend.
Utah will take eight road trips, including one to St. George, Utah, to host its own tournament, before hosting Southern Utah on March 27 at Ute Field. The advantage of traveling is the chance to play several ranked opponents before opening the conference season.
JP's 180 Turn
Jen Pursell began the season with a 6.35 ERA in her first three appearances, which included a 1-2 record. Pursell allowed 13 runs (eight earned) in 11.1 innings of work. Since then, the senior has posted a 1.54 ERA in her last five outings, while giving up 11 runs (six earned) in 35.0 innings. The California native was named MWC Pitcher of the Week for her performance at the Softball by the Beach Tournament. Pursell allowed just one earned run in three complete games, while posting a 2-1 record.
Freshman Jackie Wong has stepped up her game for the Utes. Wong had a bumpy start to her collegiate career, struggling at the plate and in the field. The California native averaged a mere .148 at the plate to go with seven errors in the field in her first eight games. But, in her last seven games Wong has posted a .292 average, while committing just one error. She's tied for the team lead with seven runs and is second with three stolen bases.
Head Coach Mona Stevens is in her seventh season at the helm of the Utah softball program. Stevens, a well-known coach at the collegiate, national and international levels, has a 223-159-1 overall college record. The Provo, Utah, native is currently serving as President of the National Fastpitch Coaches Association. In her spare time, Stevens enjoys performing with her band, the Sister Wives.
An All-Ute Staff
Joining Stevens as coaches are Marianne Bullis and Carrie Kosderka. All three were Ute players and are U. graduates. Kosderka is in her second season as an assistant coach, while Bullis is in her first.
MWC Honors Player of the Week Lynsey Wall, Feb. 15