The Southern Utah University softball team will travel to Reno, Nevada, to play in the Judy Sather Classic versus the University of Nevada, Reno. The tournament was originally supposed to include Texas A&M University-Commerce, but with the Lions no longer traveling, the event will be a three-game series against the Wolfpack.
Last time out, the Thunderbirds went 2-3 at the Capital Classic Tournament and improved to 3-10 on the season. They remain last in the Western Athletic Conference.
The leader on offense for the Thunderbirds is freshman Emily Gonzalez. She has a batting average of .361 and an on-plate percentage of 1.119. Gonzalez leads the team with three home runs and 10 RBIs. Sophomore Jayne Sepulveda is the best contact hitter on the roster, leading the team in hits.
Sophomore pitcher Keimon Winston leads the rotation with a 5.19 ERA in 10 appearances this season. Opponents hit .375 against her on 27 innings pitched. Freshman Riley Nielson is next up with a 7.48 ERA and a 2.22 walk and hits per innings pitched. Nielsen is second on the team in innings pitched with 24.1.
The Wolfpack enter this week 17-2 on the season and are atop the table in the Mountain West Conference. Nevada has won their last seven contests.
Junior Charli Hawkins and freshman Madison Clark are reliable hitters for UNR. Batting .396 on the season, Hawkins is tied for first in both home runs with four and doubles with six. She is also tied for second with 16 RBIs. Clark bats .395, is tied for first in triples and has 15 hits on the season.
Junior Tyra Clary leads the pitching rotation with an outrageous 0.26 ERA in 27.1 innings pitched. Clary is third on the team with 28 strikeouts on the season. Senior Carley Brown has a 1.67 ERA in nine appearances and leads the team with five completed games. Junior Blake Craft leads the rotation with 38 strikeouts and is second on the team in innings pitched. All Nevada pitchers have an ERA less than a 2.00.
Setting the scene
Southern Utah is 2-14 all-time against the Wolfpack. Last time both of these programs played against each other, UNR won 16-3. The Thunderbirds Last victory against Nevada was in 2014, 8-6.
Saturday, March 11, will be a double-header with the first game starting at 12:30 p.m. MST and the first pitch of the second game at 3 p.m. MST. The last game of the series will be on Sunday, March 12, with first pitch at 12:30 p.m. MST. The series will be played at the Christina M. Hixson Softball Park and will be streamed on the Mountain West Network.
Article by: Anthony Colasuono
Photos courtesy of SUU Athletics