Utah State Softball Opens Week Against Weber State Wednesday
March 12, 2013
LOGAN, Utah - QUICKLY - Utah State softball continues regular season action this week as it prepares to take on in-state foe Weber State. It will be USU's first action since last playing in the San Diego Classic, March 1-3.
Following Wednesday's action, the Aggies will head north to Boise, Idaho to play in the SpringHill Suites Invitational hosted by Boise State. Utah State will play five games in weekend action, leading off with a rematch against future Mountain West opponent Boise State, who defeated USU, 2-0, in the final game of the San Diego Classic.
The Aggies will also face border rival Idaho State twice and match-up against Portland State twice on the final two days of action.
SERIES HISTORY - vs. Weber State - Utah State holds a 29-11 head-to-head series lead against its in-state rivals, WSU. The Wildcats are 2-18 this season entering into Wednesday's doubleheaders. Last season, USU took both games of a mid-week doubleheader played in Logan on March 11, 2012.
vs. Boise State - The Broncos now hold a 9-2 all-time series advantage over Utah State, as they defeated USU, 2-0, in the San Diego Classic on March 3. Boise State enters the weekend with a 9-13 overall record. The Aggies last win against BSU came in 2011 at home, holding on late to capture a 7-6 WAC win.
vs. Idaho State - Utah State will face the Bengals three times this season, with two match-ups coming this weekend in Boise. The third will be played in Pocatello, Idaho on April 3. USU hold a 24-10 advantage in the all-time series between the two teams. The Aggies split last seasons meetings with ISU. Idaho State enters weekend action with a 7-11 mark this season.
vs. Portland State - The Vikings hold a 6-1 series history advantage against the Aggies, having won the last six meetings between these two teams.
ARATA BREAKS OUT - Sophomore outfielder Nicole Arata put together the best weekend outing of her career in the San Diego Classic as she tallied a team-leading seven hits in 14 at-bats. The sophomore also connected for her first-career home run against Fresno State. Arata also drove in a team-best three runs during the Classic.
Arata's bat has been heating up over the last 10 games, as the sophomore has posted the second-highest batting average during the 10 game span, with a .308 average.
ONE-TWO PUNCH - 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 leads her squad with a .308 batting average, producing a team-high 16 hits this season, all of which are singles. Uchida also leads the team in on-base percentage, posting a .429 average this season.
Hunsaker continues to deliver offensively for her squad, producing three doubles, the teams only triple and is tied for a team-leading five RBI. She also has touched a team-best 18 total bases this season.
STRONG IN THE CIRCLE - Senior pitcher Shelbi Tyteca appeared in four games in the San Diego Classic and made her presence felt, as the senior notched a 0.84 ERA. In eight and a third innings of work, the senior only surrendered three hits to her opponents.
BACK IN THE SADDLE - Senior infielder Christine Thomsen returned to the field for the first time this season after being sat down due to injury. Thomsen instantly brought her offense to the line-up as the senior belted a double against San Diego in her first at-bat of the season.
Last season, 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.
CAPABLE KOONS - Sophomore outfielder Jolene Koons continued to be an offensive threat for Utah State as she slugged four hits in 12 at-bats during action the San Diego Classic. Over the last 10 games, Koons has the highest batting average of any USU player, posting a .333 average.
AGGIES IN THE WAC - USU's late innings pitcher Shelbi Tyteca has limited hits to her opponent, as she has held the opposing hitters to a .250 batting average which is the sixth lowest average allowed by pitchers in the WAC.
Tyteca's 13 games in relief is also tied for the most late-inning appearances by a WAC pitcher. She has also allowed only 20 earned runs to score while in the circle, which is the fifth-fewest in the WAC.
The Aggies starting pitching duo of Mandy Harmon and Noelle Johnson continue to rank at the top of the conference in strikeouts as both pitchers have struck out 43 batters this season, which ties them for the seventh most strikeouts by a WAC pitcher.
The pitching duo also land in the top 10 in the WAC for strikeouts per game, as Johnson is averaging 6.89 strikeouts per game, which puts her third in the conference. While Harmon is right behind Johnson in fifth, averaging 5.86 strikeouts per game.
Of Harmon's 38 batters struck out, 13 have been caught watching the final strike cross the plate putting Harmon fifth in the conference for batters struck out looking.
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.
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, Grey and White.
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
AGGIES MATCHING UP AGAINST THE BEST - The NFCA released its updated national standings on Tuesday, March 12, 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. 14 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. 9 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, sophomores Hailey Froton and 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 freshmen 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.