Know thy enemy: A preview of the week in UVU sports
Photo by Sarah Sanchez
The UVU softball team will play five games this week, featuring two in-state opponents and the final WAC series of the season. The Wolverines will start the week hosting Utah State on Tuesday. USU defeated UVU in six innings in Logan earlier this season 11-2 and have won six games this season by run rule. Keeping the Aggies’ explosive offense off the board will be a tall task; they’ve scored six or more runs in 18 games this season and are 17-1 in those games. The offense is led by Riley Plogger, batting .394 with 17 extra base hits and 34 RBI’s.
The team will then make the short trip to Provo to take on No. 21 BYU on Wednesday. The Cougars have been ranked in the top 25 since February and are undefeated at home. They’ve notched wins this season over No. 9 Washington, No. 22 Georgia and No. 10 Utah. BYU’s pitching staff is led by McKenna Bull, who sports a 1.56 ERA and a 21-4 record. The Cougars have a stifling defense; they’ve given up more than four runs in just nine games and three of those instances were against nationally ranked opponents.
Following the midweek games, UVU will return home to play its final conference series of the season against the University of Missouri- Kansas City. The ‘Roos were tied with UVU for third place in the conference at 4-5 after their first nine WAC games, which was progress following a lackluster 10-26 nonconference performance. UMKC is especially vulnerable on the road, where it’s just 3-16. A dominant series from the Wolverines could positively affect the team’s seeding for the conference tournament. UMKC is batting just .251 as a team and only have three players batting over .270. The pitching staff has a combined 6.07 ERA.
The baseball team will face the University of Utah Tuesday evening in Orem. This will be the second matchup with the Utes this season with UVU winning the first game 9-7 March 22. Utah is led on offense by the power-hitting Dallas Carroll, who owns a .389 batting average on the season. Carroll was just 1-4 against the Wolverines in the first game; limiting the damage he can do with his bat will be a key to winning the game for UVU. Jacob Rebar is the Utes’ midweek starter and has a deceivingly high ERA at 7.17. In the four games he has started this season he has given up six earned runs with five of those coming at the hands of the Wolverines.
The Wolverines open up a three-game set with Northern Colorado University Friday that runs through Sunday. The Bears have struggled mightily on the road this season but love to play at home, sporting an 11-4 record in Greeley. Right fielder Jack Pauley is the biggest threat on offense with a .352 batting average, six home runs and 31 RBIs on the season. Pitcher Connor Leedholm has started in only three of his 11 appearances this year, but threw six innings of one-hit ball against the Metropolitan State University of Denver Arpil 15. Anthony Brady has been an effective reliever for NCU with a 1.50 ERA in 12 innings pitched this season.