Utah State Weekly Softball Notes
Feb. 27, 2013
LOGAN, Utah -
March 1 Utah State vs. New Mexico 3 p.m. Utah State vs. San Diego 5:30 p.m. March 2 Utah State vs. San Diego State 5:30 p.m. Utah State vs. Fresno State 8 p.m. March 3 Utah State vs. Boise State 10 a.m.
QUICKLY - Utah State softball continues its season in the San Diego Classic, with action getting under way March, 1. In its three days of action USU will face four-future Mountain West Conference foes including New Mexico, San Diego State, Fresno State and Boise State. Classic co-host San Diego is the lone opponent the Aggies will face who is not currently in the Mountain West.
This will be the second consecutive year that Utah State has participated in the San Diego Classic, as last season USU went 3-2 in Classic action. The Aggies will only face one opponent from last year in co-host San Diego.
SERIES HISTORY - vs. New Mexico - Utah State will meet the Lobo's for the first-time in program history. USU is 48-47 all-time against schools from the state of New Mexico. UNM enters this weekend with a 9-9 overall record.
vs. San Diego - The Aggies are winless in three meetings with the Toreros. The first meeting between the two teams took place in 2006 while USD defeated Utah State, 4-0, last season. San Diego comes into weekend action with a 6-6 record.
vs. San Diego State - SDSU holds an 8-3 advantage in head-to-head meetings with Utah State. The last meeting between these two teams took place in 2011, when the Aztecs defeated USU, 10-1. San Diego State is 8-7 this season.
vs. Fresno State - The former Western Athletic Conference foe holds a 30-10 lead in the series history against the Aggies. The Bulldogs head to San Diego with a 10-8 overall record. Utah State's last win against Fresno State came in 2001; the Bulldogs were ranked seventh in the nation at the time.
vs. Boise State - Holding an 8-2 all-time series advantage against USU, the Broncos enter the San Diego Classic with a 7-7 record. The Aggies last win against BSU came in 2011 at home, holding on late to capture a 7-6, WAC win. TOP OF THE ORDER - The Aggies have been led offensively by a pair of juniors this season. Outfielder Rachael Hunsaker and infielder Kassandra Uchida have the two highest batting averages on the squad with the majority of their at-bats coming at the top of the batting order.
Uchida is leading the team with a .316 batting average, producing 12 hits, drawing eight walks and scoring three runs. She also touts a team-leading .435 on-base percentage. Uchida is also currently riding a six game hit streak.
Hunsaker continues to prove to be on of the top offensive threats for Utah State, producing a .281 batting average to go along with three RBI, as well as a team-leading three doubles and the teams only triple this season. She also has a team-high 14 total bases.
STRONG IN THE CIRCLE - Senior starting pitcher Mandy Harmon put together a strong outing in the Texas Invitational as the senior posted a 2.93 ERA in five appearances including a complete game against Tulsa. Harmon also fanned nine batters in last weekends action.
CAPABLE KOONS - The versatile sophomore, Jolene Koons saw action in the outfield during the Texas Invitational and took six at-bats for the Aggies, producing two hits and scoring a run. She posted a .333 batting average during the five game stretch.
POWER AT THE PLATE - Utah State has recorded two home runs this season both coming from unexpected sources as both came from starting pitchers.
Senior Mandy Harmon drove a ball over the centerfield fence against Purdue in the Hillenbrand Invitational. While freshman Noelle Johnson connected with a pitch, driving it down the leftfield line and over the fence against Southern Utah in Hillenbrand action.
AGGIES IN THE WAC - Two Utah State softball players garnered preseason honors from the WAC. The conference office announced the 2013 Preseason all-WAC team, as selected by the leagues eight coaches, which included USU's senior infielder Christine Thomsen as well as sophomore outfielder Hailey Froton.
The Aggies starting pitching duo of Mandy Harmon and Noelle Johnson continue to rank at the top of the conference in strikeouts as Harmon has struck out 38 batters this season giving her the third most in the WAC. While Johnson is just behind her senior teammate, tallying 36 strikeouts to rank fifth in the WAC.
Of Harmon's 38 batters struck out, 12 have been caught watching the final strike cross the plate putting Harmon third in the conference for batters struck out looking.
Senior pitcher Shelbi Tyteca has proved to be a viable late-innings pitcher as she has finished nine games in relief this season. That is the most games finished by a pitcher in the WAC.
NEW THREADS - Utah State softball will be donning new uniforms embroidered with the new U-State logo as well as new batting helmets. The team has three different colors of uniforms, including a set of Aggie Blue, Pewter and White.
TAKING THE REINS - USU will look to its five seniors to help lead this year's squad. Returning for their senior seasons in 2013 are utility player Katie Bowdidge, designated hitter Kali Cancelosi, pitcher Mandy Harmon, infielder Christine Thomsen and pitcher Shelbi Tyteca.
COLOSSAL CHRISTINE - Senior infielder Christine Thomsen put together one of the best single-season outings in Utah State softball program history in 2012. The standout first baseman tied for the highest batting average in the WAC, posting a .418 overall average as well as a .426 average in conference.
Thomsen's .418 overall batting average is the second best ever posted in program history, falling just short of the .435 batting average posted by Stephanie Green in 1977.
Thomsen's offensive onslaught earned her national recognition as she was named a 2012 Easton second-team All-American.
NEW FACES IN THE WAC - The WAC added four teams for the 2013 softball season, Seattle University, UT Arlington, UTSA and Texas State. Utah State will square off against UTSA and Texas State for the first time in program history this season. USU defeated Seattle U in the 2010 season to hold a 1-0 series advantage over SU. The Aggies likewise hold a 1-0 series advantage against UT Arlington, defeating the Mavericks in 1989.
PRESEASON WAC COACHES POLL - Utah State was picked to finished sixth in the preseason coaches poll. In a preseason vote of the Western Athletic Conference softball coaches, league newcomer Texas State edged out San Jose State by one point to win the 2013 WAC preseason crown.
The Bobcats took the top spot in the preseason poll with 43 points and five first-place votes, just ahead of the Spartans in second place with 42 points and two first-place votes. New Mexico State was third with 39 points and one first-place vote. UTSA came in fourth-place with 30 points, followed by Louisiana Tech in fifth with 22 points and USU in sixth with 20 points. UT Arlington and Seattle U rounded out the poll with 15 and 13 points, respectively.
2013 Preseason Softball Coaches Poll Rank Teams (1st-Place Votes) Points 1. Texas State (5) 43 2. San Jose State (2) 42 3. New Mexico State (1) 39 4. UTSA 30 5. Louisiana Tech 22 6. Utah State 20 7. UT Arlington 15 8. Seattle U 13
AGGIES MATCHING UP AGAINST THE BEST - The NFCA released its updated national standings on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. Utah State has faced four nationally ranked teams this season.
USU was defeated by No. 6 Tennessee in the Red Desert Classic on Feb 8, 10-0 (5). In the Hillenbrand Invitational, the Aggies were defeated by No. 17 Arizona, 13-1 (5) on Feb. 17.
Utah State played two more ranked teams this past weekend in the Texas Invitational. USU lost a pair of games to No. 21 Tulsa, dropping the first game on Feb. 22, 8-0 (5), and losing the second match-up on Feb. 23, 3-0.
The Aggies also locked horns with No. 5 Texas in the Texas Invitational on Feb. 23, the Longhorns defeated Utah State, 13-2 (5).
LASER LEVELED - Utah State softball took time this off season to upgrade and improve LaRee and LeGrand Johnson Field's infield playing surface by bringing in fresh red dirt and laser leveling the entire infield. Johnson Field's backstop and windscreens are also set to get a face lift before the first home game set to take place March 20, against in-state rival Utah.
START OF SEASON 38 - The 2013 season marks the 38th year of softball at Utah State, the Aggies enter the season with a 834-984-3 (.458) overall record. USU has one college World Series appearance (1984, tied for 7th) and four NCAA Tournament appearances (1984, 1989, 1992, 1993). Utah State won the 1980 and 1981 AIAW National Championships. This is USU's eighth and final year in the WAC.
TIDBITS ABOUT UTAH STATE - - Utah State is returning eight starters including the majority of its offensive punch in senior Christine Thomsen, junior Kassnadra Uchida, sophomore Hailey Froton and sophomore Jolene Koons.
- The Aggie infield will bring experience and athleticism into the 2013 season. At first will be senior Christine Thomsen and settling in at the opposite corner will be junior Allison Lenzora. Manning the middle with be Fresno State transfer junior Becca Walker at short stop and outfielder turned infielder, junior Kassandra Uchida at second.
- Utah State bolstered its roster by bringing in seven new additions in 2013. Of the incoming players, four are freshman and three are transfers from other schools.
- 2013 will be USU's final season in the Western Athletic Conference before moving to the Mountain West for the 2014 softball season. The Aggies have gone 30-105 in conference games over the past seven season in the WAC.
- During her tenure at Biola, she compiled an overall record of 143-93 (.606 winning percentage), averaging just under 29 wins per year.
- During her three seasons at Utah State, Kalaba has sought to build a successful program and in her fourth season at the helm of USU she will seek to guide her 2013 squad to a WAC farewell championship.
- Under Kalaba, 14 players earned academic all-WAC honors in her three years as head coach of the Aggie softball team. - After transferring from Hofstra University, Kalaba played two seasons at UCLA where the Bruins won the Women's College World Series title in 1999.
- Carissa Kalaba (Cal-uh-ba) comes to Utah State after five seasons as the head coach at Biola University in La Mirada, Calif... While at Biola, Kalaba led the Eagles to five-straight playoff appearances, the longest streak in the program's 17-year history... Her teams also finished no lower than fifth in the tough Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC), posting an overall mark of 59-61... During her tenure at Biola, she compiled an overall record of 143-93 (.606 winning percentage), averaging just under 29 wins per year.
- The former Carissa Millsap is married to Joe Kalaba, who is taking on a new role this season as a softball operations manager while attending school.
- Carissa Kalaba enters her fourth season at Utah State and will continue to build a successful program.
- Assistant Coach Chelsea Butler comes to Utah State via Eastern Kentucky University, where she filled the role of assistant coach for the Colonels under head coach Jane Worthington. Last season was Butler's first season as an assistant coach, helping guide EKU to a 27-30 overall record and a 16-13 conference record for the 2012 season. Butler will be working with the Utah State pitchers.
- Assistant Coach Britne Stubbs will bring five years of head coaching experience to the USU coaching staff, having spent the last five seasons at Brevard College as the head softball coach. Stubbs also served as the Senior Woman Administrator at Brevard College, providing a female voice and perspective on key issues and serving as a role model for diversity.