May 5, 1998
THIS-WEEK: The Utes (34-21, 17-13 WAC) concludes its regular season with two doubleheaders. Utah plays at Southern Utah (12-24) on Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. before hosting Western Athletic Conference rival San Diego State (23-33, 13-15 WAC) on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Ute Field.
SCOUTING-SOUTHERN-UTAH: The Thunderbirds are 12-24 after losing four of their five games last week. The Utes swept a doubleheader from SUU last Tuesday at Ute Field, winning 5-4 and 8-1. Christy Burge leads the T-Birds in hitting with a .398 average, three home runs and 20 RBI. Pitcher Jennifer Kerr has a team-best 3.41 ERA and a 10-16 record. Head coach Joy Peterson is 269-416 in her 18th season at SUU.
SCOUTING-SAN-DIEGO-STATE: The Aztecs are 23-33 overall and in fifth place in the Western Athletic Conference with a 13-15 record. They have not played since April 16 when the Aztecs swept a doubleheader from Loyola Marymount. San Diego State plays at Colorado State on Friday before facing the Utes. Chris Puccio leads the regulars in hitting with a .314 average and 13 RBI. Jackie Eigner is hitting .304 with 14 RBI. Pitcher Sandra Durazo has a 13-13 record and a 2.04 ERA. Head coach Kathy Van Wyk is in her first year at San Diego State.
NEXT-WEEK: Utah will await word on Sunday for a possible NCAA-Tournament bid. The NCAA-Tournament field will be announced at 7:00 p.m. (MDT). Regionals will take place Friday through Sunday (May 15-17) at sites to be determined.
SOUTHERN-UTAH-REVIEW: Utah swept a softball doubleheader from Southern Utah last Tuesday at Ute Field, winning the opener 5-4 in eight innings and taking the night cap 8-1.
Sarah Farnworth pitched the entire eight innings on the mound and had the game-winning RBI as the Utes took the opener. Farnworth struck out six and gave up just two earned runs to improve to 18-10. With the score knotted at 4-4 in the bottom of the eighth, Jenny Monson reached on an error and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Sunny Smith. Farnworth drove in Monson with a single to right center.
In the second game, the Thunderbirds led 1-0 before the Utes plated seven runs with a two-out rally in the bottom of the fifth. Sandy Rhea powered the Utah offense, going 3-for-3 with two stolen bases and two runs. Ute starter Kristin Arbogast gave up no earned runs off of two hits and struck out seven in seven innings.
SAN-JOSE-STATE REVIEW: Utah ripped San Jose State's pitching for 16 runs while surrendering just one as the Utes swept a Western Athletic Conference softball doubleheader from the Spartans, 5-1 and 11-0 in five innings, last Friday at Ute Field.
After giving up a run in the first frame, Utah scored three runs in the bottom of the first. Jenny Monson got the last two on a homer to left field that also brought in Nicole Wilkinson. It was Monson's fifth home run of the year. Sunny Smith hit a two- run homer, her fourth, that scored Monson in the bottom of the third. Sarah Farnworth struck out seven in seven innings of work. She also gave up just one unearned run and four hits.
The Utes kept the pressure on in game two, scoring runs in every inning. Utah plated six in the bottom of the first with the big blow coming on a two-run triple by Monson. Both Monson and Smith were 2-for-3 with two runs and two RBI. Lisa Hashimoto was 3-for-4 with two runs and an RBI. Kristin Arbogast gave up just two hits in the complete-game effort.
S Utah at Southern Utah May 5 * Thunderbird Field * Cedar City, Utah * 1:30 p.m. (MDT)
S Utah vs. San Diego State May 9 * Ute Field * Salt Lake City * 1:30 p.m. (MDT)
UTAH Batting Order: Pos. No. Player B/T Yr. Hometown (Previous School) 1B 8 Sandy Rhea L/L Sr. South Jordan, Utah (Bingham HS) LF 3 Lisa Hashimoto L/R So. Brigham City, Utah (Box Elder HS) SS 39 Nicole Wikinson R/R So. Sandy, Utah (Louisiana State) CF 4 Jenny Monson R/R So. South Jordan, Utah (Bingham HS) C 32 Sunny Smith R/R So. Pleasant Grove, Utah DP/P 7 Sarah Farnworth R/R Fr. Upland, Calif. (Upland HS) 2B 18 Carrie Kosderka R/R Fr. Roseburg, Ore. (Roseburg HS) 3B 10 Stacey Farnworth R/R Fr. Upland, Calif. (Upland HS) RF 21 Amberly Johnson L/R Fr. Sandy, Utah (Alta HS)
Pitching Rotation: Pos. No. Name B/T Yr. Hometown (Previous School) (1) 7 Sarah Farnworth R/R Fr. Upland, Calif. (Upland HS) (2) 24 Kristin Arbogast R/R Fr. Eugene, Ore. (North Eugene HS) (3) 23 Jamie Wilkes R/R Jr. Garden Grove, Calif. (Cypress JC)
Off the Bench: Pos. No. Name B/T Yr. Hometown (Previous School) 2B 12 Stacy Holmes L/R So. Sandy, Utah (Ricks JC) 1B 13 Kellie Culligan R/R Sr. Sandy, Utah (Southern Utah)
FRESNO-STATE-REVIEW: Freshman Amberly Johnson drove in the winning run in the bottom of the seventh to give Utah a 2-1 win in the night cap and salvage a split with fourth-ranked Fresno State last Saturday at Ute Field. The Utes snapped FSU's 15-game winning streak and its 30-game WAC winning streak dating back to last season.
Johnson got her first hit of the day with a single to right that scored pinch runner Stacy Holmes from third with one out to break a 1-1 tie. The Bulldogs left 10 runners stranded on base to just one for the opportunistic Utes. Kristin Arbogast surrendered seven hits but gave up just one run in seven innings to win her third consecutive game and improve to 10-7.
Fresno State rallied for two runs in the top of the seventh to take the opener 4-3. Sunny Smith had a two-run single in the first and Jenny Monson hit a solo home run in the fourth for the Utes. Sarah Farnworth gave up four runs off of 12 hits in seven innings to fall to 19-11.
HEAD-COACH-MONA-STEVENS... is in her second season as Utah's head coach. Stevens owns a 78-38 overall record and a 39-23 mark against Western Athletic Conference teams. In her first season, Stevens led Utah to the NCAA-Tournament and a third-place finish in the WAC. This past summer, Stevens coached the USA-Softball National Team to the gold medal at the Pan Am Games qualifying tournament. She is one of the nine coaches that will form the USA-Softball National Team coaches pool through the 2000 Summer Games.
The former Ute player and assistant coach came home in September of 1996 following a two-year stint at the University of Massachusetts. Stevens was the associate head coach for the Minutewomen during the 1995 and '96 seasons, and was named UMass' head coach in June of '96, three months prior to being hired by her alma mater. In each of her two seasons at UMass, Stevens helped the Minutewomen reach the NCAA Tournament and win the Atlantic-10 Conference regular-season and tournament championships. UMass posted a 78-37-1 combined record and a .667 overall winning percentage during Stevens' tenure.
Stevens began her coaching career as an assistant at Utah from 1981-84. In addition to her collegiate coaching portfolio, Stevens has been a nationally recognized pitching instructor over the past 13 years. She has also worked internationally, and was the owner of Mona Stevens Enterprises from 1989-94.
QUOTING-STEVENS: On last week - "The way we played last weekend was indicative of our talent. We have so much potential, we're just young. We've had some stretches this year where we've played very well, and I hope this past weekend will help us remember how good we can be. Our pitchers and our defense behind them was outstanding against Fresno State. Their team batting average is higher than our best hitter, and we really shut them down. Kristin Arbogast pitched very well. She had a rough outing against Fresno State earlier in the year, and for her to come back like she did is a great personal victory for her."
On this week - "We're right in the hunt for an NCAA bid. I think they're going to go at least four deep from our region, and we're right there. We are kind of on the bubble, and we need to win all of our games this week--which we are very capable of doing--but we're right there. I think the momentum that we picked up last weekend will carry us through this week. This is a young team, and it would be great to see us finish up the season strong."
NCAA-RANKINGS: In the NCAA statistics released on April 26, senior first baseman Sandy Rhea ranks 14th in stolen bases with a average of 0.67 per game.
WAC-RANKINGS: In the Western Athletic Conference statistical rankings released on April 29, Utah ranked fifth in team hitting (.280), third in ERA (2.21) and ninth in fielding percentage (.937).
Sandy Rhea ranks seventh in the WAC in hitting (.388), fifth in runs scored (45), sixth in hits, second in doubles (11), first in triples (7), sixth in base on balls, first in stolen bases and fourth in on base percentage (.461). Jenny Monson is 17th in hitting (.327), fourth in stolen bases. Sarah Farnworth is sixth in ERA (1.66), third in wins (18), first in innings pitched (202.1), first in complete games (23), fourth in appearances (34), third in fewest walks per seven innings (1.52) and fourth in opponents batting average (.230). Kristin Arbogast is 15th in ERA (3.20).
RHEA BREAKS INTO-THE-NCAA'S TOP-10 IN-CAREER STOLEN-BASES: Senior first baseman Sandy Rhea, with 128 career stolen bases, has moved into the top 10 all-time on the NCAA's career stolen base chart. She is currently in ninth place and needs one more to move into a tie for eighth place. Rhea has 32 stolen bases (in 33 attempts) in 55 games this season.
RHEA-ON-THE-MOVE: Sandy Rhea, a first-team All-American last season by the NFCA, already broke both the Utah and Western Athletic Conference career records for stolen bases last season. Rhea has 128 career steals, bettering the mark of former Ute Amy (Timmel) Hogue, who has 70. Rhea also broke Hogue's Utah and WAC single-season stolen base mark of 33 with 46 thefts last year. She also broke the Utah single-game record this season with five stolen bases against San Jose State on March 1. With her first triple of the 1998 season, Rhea tied Jo Evans' career mark of 13 set 1979-82. She now has 19 triples. Rhea has also become Utah career leader in runs scored this season with 175 and doubles with 54. She is second at Utah in career batting average (.351). Rhea is third all-time in the WAC in career triples (19), and third in career runs scored (175).
WAC PRE-SEASON-POLL: In a preseason poll of the Western Athletic Conference coaches, Utah was picked to finish third with 48 points, receiving four second-place votes, two third-place votes and two fifth-place votes. Fresno State was picked to finish first with 64 points and Colorado State was selected second with 54 points. The coaches picked Hawai'i fourth (42 points), followed by UNLV (37), San Diego State (32), New Mexico (21), San Jose State (17) and Tulsa (9).