Utah State softball (18-31, 7-14 MW) will conclude its 2018 season this weekend with a three-game Mountain West series at San Diego State (17-31, 8-13 MW). The Aggies and Aztecs will play on Thursday, May 10 and Friday, May 11, at 7 p.m. (MT), with the finale set for noon on Saturday, May 12.
All regular-season home and Mountain West games will continue to be broadcast as a USU Athletics Production on the Mountain West Network. All video feeds will be available live and in archive form at utahstateaggies.com/watch. Live stats and play-by-play information will be available through GameTracker, while updates will also be provided through the team’s social media outlets. Links to each option will be available online prior to every game.
TAKING ON THE GOLDEN STATE
This weekend will mark the Aggies’ final trip to California this season. In all, USU will have faced seven opponents from the state of California this season. The Aggies opened the season at the Titan Classic, hosted by Cal State Fullerton, taking on the host-Titans and Loyola Marymount. That weekend was followed by a single game at Pacific and play in the Aggie Invitational, hosted by UC Davis. In conference play, Utah State played at Fresno State and hosted San José State, with this weekend’s finale set at San Diego State. All-time, Utah State is 232-420-1 against California teams.
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. All but one of San Diego State’s players are California natives.
FRIENDS OR FOES
Utah State sophomore pitcher Kellie White and San Diego State freshman third baseman Kelsey Munoz played together at Mater Dei High School in Chula Vista, Calif. Munoz is the Aztecs’ co-leader at the plate, where she is batting .312 (24-of-77) in her 25 games played after coming back from an injury.
THE WALK-OFF LIFE
Senior third baseman Amee Aarhus recorded her second walk-off hit of the season to give the Aggies the win over San José State on May 5. Her single brought in a runner from third to put Utah State up, 3-2. Aarhus also hit a walk-off home run to give the Aggies an 11-10 victory over Nevada on March 31.
Sophomore pitcher Kellie White struck out her 100th batter of the season in the series finale against San José State. Entering the final weekend of the season, White’s 100 strikeouts top her freshman season total of 93. She is the first Utah State pitcher to earn 100 or more strikeouts in a season since 2015. Noelle Johnson (2013-16) holds the single-season strikeout record, tallying 2018 in 2014.
STEPH GOES FOR SIX
Between two games in the San José State series, freshman second baseman Stephanie Reed batted a perfect 6-for-6. Reed came into the game as a pinch hitter in Saturday’s contest before returning to the starting lineup on Sunday. She tallied a career-best three hits in each game, bringing her batting average up from .165 to .214.
BACK WITH A VENGEANCE
After missing 15 games with an illness, senior third baseman Amee Aarhus returned to the Aggie starting lineup for the San José State series. She came back strong, batting .500 (5-for-10) against the Spartans, including a triple. She also scored three runs in the series, while batting in another three.
WHERE THINGS STAND
Heading into the final weekend of the 2018 regular season, three teams continue to battle it out for the Mountain West title. Boise State is currently leading the conference with a 15-6 league record, followed by San José State (16-7) and Fresno State (13-8). Boise State will host New Mexico this weekend, while Fresno State plays at Nevada. San José State will play one last game at Nevada as a makeup from a rained out game earlier this season, but has its Mountain West bye this weekend. San Diego State (8-13), Utah State (7-14) and New Mexico (7-14) round out the conference standings, with this weekend’s games serving as the deciding factor for which team will finish where.
TAKING ONE TO TAKE FIRST
Senior third baseman Amee Aarhus has been hit by a pitch eight times this season, the most of any Utah State player. Those eight are the most a USU player has taken since 2016, when Noelle Johnson took 12 pitches. According to available research, the 12 are the single-season school record, held by Johnson and Kelley Kaneshiro. Aarhus has been hit by a pitch 12 times in her career as an Aggie, which is tied for eighth on the single-season record list. Kaneshiro holds the career hit-by-pitch record, taking 36 pitches over her four seasons.
AIN’T LIFE GRAND?
Sophomore catcher/designated player Allanah Alvarado lifted Utah State to its win at BYU on April 25 with her first-career grand slam. She is the second Aggie to hit a grand slam this season, as senior catcher Brina Buttacavoli also did so in a loss to Boise State on March 18. This is the first time Utah State has had two grand slams in a season since 2010, when Nicole Tindall and Shasta Tyteca each hit one. Additionally, Buttacavoli and Tyteca are the only two Aggie softball players to hit multiple grand slams in their career since at least 2005.
THE RBI RULERS
Senior catcher Brina Buttacavoli leads the Aggies with 40 RBIs this season, the most of any season in her collegiate career. She currently ranks fourth in the Mountain West and fourth on the USU single-season record list. Buttacavoli has recorded a career-best four RBIs in four games of her career, including two times this season. Junior first baseman Bailee Trapp is second on the team in the same category with 28 RBIs, also shattering her prior career total of five. Trapp had a career-best six RBIs in the win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
ENDING THE STREAK
Utah State defeated in-state rival BYU, 4-2, on April 25, marking the first win against the Cougars since April 4, 2006. Prior to that game, the Cougars had won 17 consecutive games against the Aggies. All-time, BYU leads the series, 42-33, dating back to the 1976 season.
WALK THIS WAY
Sophomore outfielder Riley Plogger has drawn a team-high 26 walks this season. Her 26 walks are tied for third on the USU single-season record list and are the most by a Utah State player since 2014, when Jolene Koons was walked 26 times. Jennifer Power ranks both first and second on the single-season walks list, drawing 27 in 1993 and 41 in 1994.
STRIKING OUT THE LOBOS
Sophomore Kellie White and freshman Delaney Hull each pitched complete games in the series at New Mexico. Together, the two struck out 31 Lobo batters. White opened the weekend with a career-best 12 strikeouts, the most by a Utah State pitcher since the 2015 season. Hull followed with a career-high nine in the second game, while White then closed the weekend with another 10 strikeouts.
BRB, WE’RE RUNNING AROUND THE BASES
Senior catcher Brina Buttacavoli, sophomore outfielder Riley Plogger and junior first baseman Bailee Trapp are the heavy hitters for the Aggies this season, combining for 24 of Utah State’s 36 home runs. Buttacavoli leads the group with nine home runs, while Trapp and Plogger have hit eight and seven, respectively. Each of the three players have more than doubled their career home run totals throughout the course of the 2018 season. Additionally, the three have hit 27 of the team’s 47 doubles.
SPEAKING OF EXTRA-BASE HITS
Utah State has hit at least one extra-base hit in all but three games this season, including a 21-game streak from March 24 to May 4. The Aggies had a season-high seven extra-base hits in the Feb. 25 win against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi with four doubles, one triple and two home runs. In the April 14 win against Colorado State, USU hit for a team cycle with one double, one triple and two home runs along with seven singles. Junior first baseman Bailee Trapp has a team-high 10 doubles, while senior outfielder Jazmin Clarke leads with four triples. Senior catcher Brina Buttacavoli has a team-best nine home runs on the season.
Utah State continues to successfully steal bases, as it leads the Mountain West with 78 steals on the season. Senior outfielder Jazmin Clarke leads the Aggies and ranks second in the Mountain West with 28 stolen bases, followed closely by freshman outfielder Leah Molina, who has 23 on the year.
Clarke continues to hold her commanding lead on the all-time stolen base record list at Utah State, as she has 84 steals in her career. Junior outfielder Mia Maher holds the second-place spot on the record list with 46 stolen bases. Clarke has set a new single-season stolen base record each of the last two seasons, with 31 last season and 25 as a sophomore in 2016. She currently holds the top three positions on the single-season record list.
HIT ME WITH YOUR BEST SHOT
Utah State has recorded double-digit hits in 14 games this season, including a five-game streak from Feb. 23-25 and in three of the last four games. The Aggies had a season-high 19 hits in the win against Buffalo. The 19 hits are the most since the Aggies put up 20 hits in a win against Valparaiso on March 11, 2016.
THE LAST TIME OUT
Utah State posted a 1-2 Mountain West home record last week, as it fell to San José State, 8-4, before winning the second game, 3-2. The Aggies then dropped the series finale to the Spartans, 7-5. Three pitchers saw time in the circle for the Aggies, with freshman Delaney Hull earning the win. Together, the three tallied 15 strikeouts and walked 15 batters, while posting a 4.67 ERA and allowing 26 hits and 14 earned runs. Freshman second baseman Stephanie Reed led the USU offense, as she batted .857 (6-of-7) on the week. As a team, Utah State batted .333 (29-of-87), hitting one double, one triple and two home runs. Junior first baseman Bailee Trapp was tops defensively, tallying 27 putouts.
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