Utah State softball (7-7) continues its 2018 season with six games this week. USU will begin the week with a single game at Pacific (8-9) on Wednesday, March 7, at 5 p.m. (MT), and then play five games at the UC Davis-hosted Aggie Invitational. USU will begin the tournament with a game against UC Davis (11-7) on Thursday, March 9, at 4 p.m. The Aggies will then play two games on Friday, March 9, taking on Valparaiso (9-4) at noon and Northern Colorado (10-11) at 2:15 p.m. The weekend will close on Saturday, March 10, with a rematch against Northern Colorado at 10 a.m., and UC Davis at noon.
Live stats will be provided for Wednesday’s game at Pacific. Fans wishing to attend the game can purchase tickets online, over the phone or in person. Single-game tickets at Pacific are $6 for adults, $4 for seniors (62+) and $3 for children (5-12).
ABOUT THE AGGIE INVITATIONAL
UC Davis plays host to four other teams for the 2018 Aggie Invitational, held over the course of five days at the newly renovated LaRue Field. Play begins on Thursday, March 8, running through the weekend and concluding with a single game on Monday, March 12. Joining the Aggies of UC Davis and Utah State are Nevada, Northern Colorado and Valparaiso.
Live stats will be available for each game of the weekend, while social media updates will also be available. Fans wishing to attend the Aggie Invitational can purchase a full tournament pass for $25. The same pass for youth (3-13) and seniors (65+) is available for $20. Single-day tickets for the weekend games are $10 for adults and $8 for youth and seniors. Tickets can be purchased online at ucdavisaggies.com, or at the box office prior to the games.
NO HIT WONDER
Freshman pitcher Delaney Hull recorded her first collegiate no-hitter in Utah State’s 15-0 win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. It was just the second no-hitter on record at Utah State, and the first since April 21, 1992, when Debbie Corbett no-hit New Mexico State. Hull’s no-hitter is the first by a Mountain West pitcher this season and one of 32 throughout the NCAA.
HIT ME WITH YOUR BEST SHOT
Utah State has recorded double-digit hits in seven games this season, including in each of the last five games. The Aggies had a season-high 19 hits in the win against Buffalo, the most by any team in the Mountain West and the fourth-most nationally this season. The 19 hits are the most since the Aggies put up 20 hits in a win against Valparaiso on March 11, 2016.
GIVING THEM THE RUN AROUND
The Aggies have scored 15 runs in two different games this season, doing so against Buffalo and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Utah State has had 15 or more runs at least once in each of the last four seasons, but this is the first time the Aggies have done so twice in a season since 1980. That year, the Aggies put up 24 and 20 runs against the College of Eastern Utah. The 24 runs is the team record for runs in a game.
HEY BATTER BATTER
As a team, Utah State is batting .337 (138-of-410). That average leads the Mountain West, with Boise State in second at .330. Additionally, the Aggies rank 12th nationally. Saint Peter’s leads the NCAA with a .422 batting average.
BEST OF THE MOUNTAIN WEST
Senior catcher Brina Buttacavoli was named the Mountain West Player of the Week for the week ending Feb. 25. She earned the award for the first time in her career and it was the first honor for a Utah State player this season. Last year, five Utah State players earned conference weekly accolades six times.
WHITE SAVES THE DAY
Sophomore pitcher Kellie White earned the third save of her career last week as she pitched the final two outs in the win against Omaha. She is one of nine Mountain West pitchers to record a save this season. White is now tied for fifth on the Utah State career saves record list.
WINNING ONE HUNDRED
With Utah State’s win over Omaha last weekend, fifth-year head coach Steve Johnson recorded his 100th win at the helm of the Aggie program. Since taking over the Aggie program, Johnson has an overall record of 103-123. He is the second-winningest head coach in program history, behind Lloydene Searle. Searle was the USU head coach from 1981-97, compiling a 505-369-2 record.
AT HOME ON THE ROAD
Several Utah State players will make the return to their home state this weekend, as the Aggie roster features 10 student-athletes from California. Brina Buttacavoli (Marysville), Jazmin Clarke (Tracy), Kennedy Hira (Mission Viejo), Delaney Hull (Mission Viejo), Bri Lerma (Downey), Bailey Lewis (Rocklin), Mia Maher (Irvine), Riley Plogger (Redlands) Devan Sperry (Dove Canyon) and Kellie White (San Diego) all call the Golden State home.
TAKING ON THE GOLDEN STATE
This week marks Utah State’s second of four trips to California this season. The Aggies opened the season at the Titan Classic, hosted by Cal State Fullerton. Utah State will also play conference series at Fresno State and San Diego State and will host San José State. In all, USU has faced or will face seven opponents from the state of California this season. All-time, Utah State is 229-414-1 against California teams.
BACK TO THE ROOTS
Utah State and Pacific spent three seasons playing together in the Big West, from 1991-2005. The Tigers were in the Big West from 1985-2013 before making the move to the West Coast Conference.
FIFTH INNING STRETCH
Utah State has scored the most runs in the fifth innings of games this season. So far, the Aggies have scored 25 runs in the fifth, 10 more than in any other inning.
RBIS FOR RILEY
Sophomore outfielder Riley Plogger is leading the Aggies in the RBI column this season, with 15 so far. With her two hits against Buffalo, Plogger brought in five runs, which tied her career high.
TRAPPED AT FIRST
Junior first baseman Bailee Trapp is the top defensive player for the Aggies and the Mountain West this season, tallying 115 putouts. Trapp recorded a career-high 17 putouts in the loss to Hawai’i, the most of any player in the conference in a game this year.
THE HOT STREAKS
Seven Utah State players have had hitting streaks of five or more games this season. Currently, senior outfielder Jazmin Clarke is on an 11-game hitting streak, while senior catcher Brina Buttacavoli has had at least one hit in the last nine games.
Utah State has continued its trend of stealing bases, with a Mountain West-best 28 so far. Senior outfielder Jazmin Clarke leads the team and the conference with 13 stolen bases on 14 attempts.
Utah State was picked fourth in this season’s Mountain West preseason poll. San Diego State was picked to finish first in the conference, claiming 63 points and seven of the league’s first-place votes. San José State followed, earning the two remaining first-place votes and 57 total points. Fresno State was slated third, just ahead of the Aggies with 44 points, while USU took the fourth-place spot with 43 points. Nevada follows in fifth with 37 points, with Colorado State in sixth place with 30 points. Boise State (27 points), UNLV (14 points) and New Mexico (nine points) rounded out the 2018 preseason poll.
THE LAST TIME OUT
Utah State posted a 4-1 record at a tournament hosted by Texas A&M-Corpus Christi last weekend with a 5-3 win against Omaha, a 7-0 win and 9-8 loss against Texas Southern, and 8-5 and 15-0 (5) wins against the host-Islanders. Three pitchers saw time in the circle on the weekend, with sophomore Kellie White and freshman Delaney Hull each posting a 2-0 record. Hull threw a no-hitter in the finale against TA&M-CC, USU’s first since at least 2002. In all, the Utah State pitching staff posted a 3.25 ERA, allowing 27 hits and 17 runs, while striking out 31 batters and walking 15. Offensively, senior catcher/designated player Brina Buttacavoli led the Aggies with a .526 (10-of-19) batting average, including one home run. Junior first baseman Bailee Trapp brought in a team-high 12 RBIs, hitting three doubles and one home run. In all, the Aggies hit .378 (59-of-156) on the weekend, including nine doubles, three triples and one home run. Defensively, Trapp led the team with 34 putouts, while senior third baseman Amee Aarhus added 14 assists.
Utah State will open both the home and Mountain West portions of its season next week. The Aggies host in-state rival Weber State on Wednesday, March 14, at 3 p.m. USU will then welcome Boise State for the first conference series of the season. The Aggies and Broncos will square off on Friday, March 16 and Saturday, March 17, at 3 p.m., then close the weekend on Sunday, March 18, at noon.
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