For the first time this season the UVU women’s softball team saw two weekly recognitions from the Great West Conference. After the series in North Caroline last weekend, junior Tiffany Mills was deemed GWC Pitcher of the Week as she limited her opponents to a .177 hitting clip in last weekend’s tournament. The second honor, the GWC Player of the Week and PCSC’s Mountain Division Player of the Week, were both awarded to sophomore Amanda Robinson.
UVU currently sits at 6-4 on the season. After the Wolverines began the season 3-3, head coach Todd Fairbourne expressed his concerns for a team that started in St. George at 2-0 then continued against Loyola Marymount, finishing 1-3.
“As well as we play defensively, different situations may reveal what we have to get better at,” Fairbourne said. “But I feel like the girls made a lot of good decisions. At the very least they showed me they can. So now I expect it.”
Robinson earned her Player of the Week award after the four-school tournament in North Carolina. After hitting .714 in the tournament, her season batting average rose to .400 heading into the weekend. On top of her batting average, Robinson earned three home runs and 11 RBI’s.
“I certainly liked the direction we finished,” Fairbourne said. “I think we keep getting better, especially as we tweak things with the lineup.”
The options at the pitching position are still limited for UVU and a large work load falls on Mills as well as Cassie Herrera to fill the gaps. Although Mills has pitched in every game since the opening of the season, she and Herrera have been the only two pitchers to share time on the field as they await the status of freshmen Megan Peay’s shoulder injury.
In the meantime, the work load has fallen on Mills. In last week’s tournament Mills maintained a 2.50 ERA and struck out 12 in her 18 innings of play. Mills describes her pressure on the field as a usual pattern, regardless of the team’s variety at the pitching position.
“It helps because I know that when things get tough I need to do better,” Mills said. “But it’s not easy. I have to mentally be strong and try to think about getting through.”
The Wolverines play their next game on Friday when they head to Kissimmee, Fla. for the 10-game Rebel Spring Games, featuring Army and Lafayette among others programs.
“This is all practice to some degree. It’s practice in game situations that have game intensity that we can’t simulate,” Fairbourne said. “We are hoping that we just continue to make things to define ourselves.”
By Kevin Olsen