Aggie Softball Prepared For Wednesday Home Opener Against Utah
March 19, 2013
LOGAN, Utah -
March 20 Utah State vs. Utah 4 p.m. (MT) March 22 *Utah State @ San Jose St. 4 p.m. (MT) March 23 *Utah State @ San Jose St. 1 p.m. (MT) DH * = WAC Game
QUICKLY - Utah State softball is coming off its best week of the season after putting together a five-game winning streak and finishing the week with a 5-2 record. USU now turns it attention to in-state rival Utah before opening its Western Athletic Conference schedule with a weekend series against San Jose State.
The Aggies will roll out the blue carpet for the 2013 season opener at LaRee and LeGrand Johnson Field against the Utes on Wednesday, March 20 as the first pitch is set to be delivered at 4 p.m. (MT). Fans at Wednesday's home game will have the chance to partake of Dollar Dog Day, hot dogs are just a dollar to fans at the game.
Last week, Utah State swept in-state foe Weber State in a mid-week doubleheader, taking the first game, 2-1, and followed it up with a, 11-3 win against the Wildcats.
USU rode the momentum gained against WSU into the SpringHill Suites Invitational hosted by Boise State. The Aggie bested host Boise State, 5-3, in eight-innings on Friday, March 15. Utah State went on to win both of its games Saturday, putting together wins against Idaho State, 3-2, and a dramatic come from behind, 6-5, win over Portland State.
SERIES HISTORY - vs. Utah - Wednesday's match-up will be the 146th meeting between the two in-state teams, with Utah holding a 90-55-1 all-time series lead against Utah State. The first meeting between the two teams was in 1976
Last season, the Utes defeated USU in Salt Lake, 7-0. Utah enters this week with a 13-10-1 overall record this season.
vs. San Jose State - The Aggies cling to a 29-28 advantage in the all-time series history with SJSU. Last season, the Spartans traveled to Logan for a three-games series that resulted in SJSU winning the first two games of the series and Utah State rallying to win the series finale.
San Jose State enters the week with a 19-10 record to go along with a 5-1 home mark. SJSU was picked to finish second in the WAC Preseason Coaches Poll behind Texas State.
EXTRA-ORDINARY - Utah State had its first extra-innings games of the season last week in the SpringHill Suite Invitational, the first coming against host Boise State and the second in as many days versus Portland State. USU rallied to win both of the extra-inning games.
In their game against the Broncos, the Aggies rallied to score three runs in the top of the sixth-inning to take a 3-2 lead headed into the final frame. BSU responded with a singlerun in the bottom of the seventh to tie the game, sending into extras. Utah State came out on top, scoring two runs in the top of the eighth and holding Boise State's offense in check to take the game, 5-3.
Trailing by five-runs to Portland State in the bottom of the seventh inning, USU rallied to score five runs in the final frame to force extra-innings. The Aggies capitalized on the opportunity, scoring the games winning run in the bottom of the eighth frame.
RETURNING TO FORM - Senior infielder Christine Thomsen is returning to form as the senior has been hampered by injury to start the season. Thomsen helped power her squad to their first wins of the season last week as she posted a .476 batting average, .619 slugging percentage and .560 on-base percentage over the seven games. Thomsen produced 10 hits in 21 at bats, three of which were doubles, two RBI and also walked four times.
Thomsen is leading the team in batting-average, posting a .414 average, to go along with a team-leading .552 slugging percentage and a team-best .514 on-base percentage.
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.
ARATA BREAKS OUT - Sophomore outfielder Nicole Arata continues to wield a hot bat for Utah State as the sophomore produced a team-leading seven RBI in last week's action. Her best game came against Boise State, where she hit her second-career home run and produced three RBI to help power he squad past the Broncos, 5-3.
SAVE-ABLE SHELBI - Senior pitcher Shelbi Tyteca recorded her first save of the season against Idaho State on March 16, in the SpringHill Suites Invitational. It is also Tyteca's 10th career save which is the most in program history.
STRONG IN THE CIRCLE - Freshman starting pitcher Noelle Johnson recorded her first wins in an Aggie uniform against Weber State and Idaho State. The freshman recorded a team-best 16 strikeouts during last week's action.
MAKING THE MOST - Sophomore outfielder Hailey Froton made the most of her at bats last week as she produced two-triples in four at-bats. Her two triples lead the team, as juniors outfielder Rachael Hunsaker and infielder Becca Walker have both recorded a triple this season.
AGGIES IN THE WAC - Utah State softball has several players atop the WAC in several statistical categories.
Both starting pitchers for Utah State rank in the top-10 in the WAC in several categories. Senior pitcher Mandy Harmon and freshman pitcher Noelle Johnson are both in the top 10 for batters struckout and batter struckout looking.
Harmon has struckout 17 batters looking this season landing her tied for fifth-most in the conference, while Johnson lands just behind Harmon with 14 batter struckout looking putting her with the ninth most in the WAC.
Johnson has recorded 59 total strikeouts this season, which is tied for the sixth most by a WAC pitcher. Harmon is just behind Johnson with 54 strikeouts which is good for eighth-best in the WAC.
Sophomore outfielder Hailey Froton produced two triples last week, tying her for second in the conference.
Junior infielder Kassandra Uchida has drawn 12 bases-on balls this season, landing her with the seventh-most per-game in the WAC, averaging 0.44 walks per game.
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 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, March 19, 2013. Utah State has faced five nationally ranked teams this season.
USU was defeated by No. 8 Tennessee in the Red Desert Classic on Feb 8, 10-0 (5). In the Hillenbrand Invitational, the Aggies were defeated by No. 16 Arizona, 13-1 (5) on Feb. 17. Utah State was also defeated, 9-0 (6), by this weeks No. 25 team, Nebraska.
USU also faced two more ranked teams in the Texas Invitational. The Aggies lost a pair of games to No. 19 Tulsa, dropping the first game on Feb. 22, 8-0 (5), and losing the second match-up on Feb. 23, 3-0.
Utah State also locked horns with No. 9 Texas in the Texas Invitational on Feb. 23, the Longhorns defeated USU, 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 continues to build a successful program on and off the field.
- 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.