Southern Utah University softball is home once again after two weeks on the road on Saturday, April 23 and Sunday, April 24. The Thunderbirds are looking for their first conference win and home win of the year as they welcome the Bengals of Idaho State University.
Southern Utah prepares for another three-game conference series at Kathryn Berg Field. This series will stretch another day due to the SUU program having to go through COVID-19 protocols with one player testing positive and multiple members of the roster being required to quarantine. The double-header on Saturday will start at noon with the second game starting 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first game. The final game of the series will be Sunday, April 24, at noon.
Southern Utah looks to break a 15-game losing streak at home. The T-Birds’ most recent losses were against Portland State University and Weber State University. Both series resulted in sweeps for the opposition. The Thunderbirds were scheduled to play against Dixie State University earlier this week but the game was officially canceled due to COVID-19 protocols with one player testing positive.
Southern Utah is 3-32 and 0-12 in Big Sky Conference play.
The Thunderbird offense has struggled lately, only scoring two runs in the previous series against Portland State University. The Thunderbird offense has been dominant at home, scoring 31 combined runs with 11 runs in one game on April 1 in a losing effort in extra innings versus the University of Montana.
Senior outfielder Makall Whetten leads the T-Birds with a .247 batting average and is second on the team in hits and walks.
Capri Franzen has been the power hitter for the Thunderbirds, leading the roster with three home runs and is tied for second with nine RBIs.
Looking at the opponent
Idaho State University comes in after a losing effort against Utah State University on April 19. Before the loss, their three previous games were canceled. The Bengals last win was on April 8 in a 10-1 mercy rule win against Montana.
The Bengals are just below the .500 mark at 19-21 and 3-6 in Big Sky Conference play. Idaho State has two wins over Mountain West rivals University of Nevada, Reno and Boise State University and Big East foe Providence College.
The Begnals are led by power hitter Angelica Cano. Cano leads the team with a .359 batting average. Cano also leads the team with 46 hits, 11 doubles, 10 home runs and 42 RBIs.
Idaho State’s pitching rotation has been solid throughout the season with freshman Haley Rainey leading the rotation with a 3.35 ERA. 11-8 record and 126 strikeouts on the season.
The Thunderbirds lead the all-time series 16-14. In addition, the Thunderbirds currently have a three-game winning streak against Idaho State. Last time out, the Thunderbirds bested the Bengals 6-4 in Pocatello, Idaho on April 3, 2021. Southern Utah looks to get in the conference and home winning column.
This is the first time this season both squads will face off. The first game of the double-header will take place at noon and the second game 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first game. The double-header will be on April 23. The final game of the series will take place Sunday, April 24, at noon. The series will be held at Kathryn Berg Field. The series will be streamed on ESPN+.
Article by: Anthony Colasuono
Photo courtesy of SUU Athletics