March 24, 2014
LOGAN, Utah - Utah State softball will travel to Provo, Utah on Tuesday, March 25 to take on Southern Utah in a neutral field game at BYU's Gail Miller Field. First pitch is slated for Noon.
The USU-SUU game is the first of three games on Gail Miller Field on Tuesday, as the Thunderbirds will take on No. 3 Oregon at 4 p.m., prior to BYU taking on Oregon at 6 p.m. Fans can follow Tuesday's action between Utah State and Southern Utah with live stats by clicking on the "GameTracker" link at Utah State's website, www.UtahStateAggies.com. There will be no video streaming. Game updates will also be available on twitter @USUSoftball.
The Aggies take an eight-game win streak into Tuesday's match-up with the Thunderbirds, which is their longest winning streak since winning 11-straight in 1993. Utah State has an even 13-13 overall record after sweeping Colorado State over the weekend in a three-game Mountain West series in USU's MW debut. It was the Aggies' first conference sweep since taking three-straight Western Athletic Conference games from Nevada on the road in 2011. It was also the first home conference sweep since 2007. This is also the Aggies' first 3-0 conference start since 2004 when USU started Big West Conference play 3-0.
Utah State is led by sophomore pitcher Noelle Johnson, who was named the America First Credit Union USU Student-Athlete of the Week on Monday after leading the Aggies to a perfect 5-0 record last week with a doubleheader sweep at Utah Valley (4-1, 8-7) and a three-game home Mountain West sweep against Colorado State (1-0, 5-4, 7-2). Against the Wolverines, Johnson pitched seven innings in game one, allowing only one run and striking out 11. She then pitched 3.1 innings in relief in the second game and posted six strikeouts. Johnson then started two games against the Rams and pitched one in relief. In USU's 1-0 win against CSU, she struck out 14 batters. In the series finale, she not only earned the win but she hit two home runs and drove home five runs in the 7-2 win. For the week, Johnson went 5-0 and allowed only four earned runs in 30.1 innings pitched as she had a 0.92 ERA with 39 strikeouts. At the plate, she batted .375 (3-8) with one double, two home runs, two runs scored and five runs batted in.
Johnson has as 12-8 overall record in the circle this season, having earning the win in each of USU's current eight-game win streak. She has an ERA of 2.27 with 146 strikeouts, leading the Mountain West in K's.
At the plate, freshman third baseman Victoria Saucedo leads the Aggies with a .353 average and a team-leading .553 slugging percentage, driving in 15 RBI, sharing the team-lead of four home runs with junior outfielder Hailey Froton. As a team, USU is hitting .244 with 19 home runs.
Southern Utah is 9-17 overall after opening Big Sky Conference action with a 2-1 weekend against in-state foe Weber State. Senior first baseman Madison Resley ranks among the Big Sky's top hitters with a .455 average. Ariel Hart has struck out 39 batters over 48.1 innings, which is the same number as freshman pitcher/infielder Jordan Theurer. Theurer has collected four wins in the circle for the T-Birds and leads the pitching staff with a 5.25 ERA.
Tuesday will be the second meeting this season between USU and SUU, with the Aggies earning an 8-0 five-inning, run-rule shortened game in both teams' season-opener on Feb. 6 in St. George. The Aggies hold a 59-21 series lead over the T-Birds, as USU's win this season snapped a two-game win streak in the series by SUU.
Following Tuesday's game, the Aggies will return to MW action but remain on the road, heading to Fresno, Calif., to face Fresno State for a three-game series beginning on Friday, March 28 at 7 p.m. (MT).
Fans can keep up with all of the Aggie softball action at www.utahstateaggies.com. Follow Utah State softball at http://twitter.com/USUSoftball.com, as well as on facebook, at https://www.facebook.com/USUSoftball.
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