Know thy enemy: A preview of the week in UVU sports

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Photo by Brigham Berthold

Conference play is underway for the UVU baseball team, and it will be hosting the first WAC home series of the season this week with Sacramento State University coming to campus. The softball team will begin its WAC play this week on the road against New Mexico State University.

The baseball team will open its three-game home series against SSU Thursday. The series represents just the second home stand of the season for Wolverines. UVU took two of three from the Hornets on the road last season, but the Wolverines have struggled this season to win more than one game in a series.

The Hornets are a good ball club – they won their series against Washington State and played close games with then-ranked No. 11 Washington. SSU played a tough nonconference schedule with matchups against three schools from power five conferences.

The Hornets are averaging 5.5 runs per game thus far this season and has a team on base percentage of .352. They have a plus-14 run differential this season, showing an ability to score runs. Sacramento is led on offense by utility infielder PJ Floyd and outfielder Ian Dawkins. Floyd has just 20 at bats on the year, but he is batting .400 to lead the team. He is also tied for first on the team with two home runs. Dawkins is batting .333 and has started in all of SSU’s games this season. James Outman, another utility infielder, has 15 RBIs on the year to lead all Hornets.

On the mound, Sacramento is led by senior Justin Dillon and freshman Parker Brahms, who both own sub-.200 ERAs with 29 and 28 innings pitched, respectively.

The Wolverine softball team opens its conference schedule in Las Cruces, New Mexico this weekend with a three-game series against NMSU. The Aggies navigated their way through a tough nonconference slate, facing off against eight teams from power five conferences. Among the most notable results from those games were a one-run loss to Michigan and three-run losses to Oklahoma State and North Carolina State, all during the Mary Nutter Classic in February.

There’s a big disparity in NMSU’s runs in wins versus losses. In the Aggies’ first eight wins they scored an average of 6.4 runs, including three games of eight runs or more. On the other hand, in losses they average 2.3 runs, and have scored no more than four runs in a game. If the Wolverines hope to bring home some wins, it will be important for them to put up some runs early on.

Through 19 games, the Aggies have five players batting over .300, led by Kelsey Horton and Rachel Rodriguez, who bat .387 and .369, respectively. Horton also leads the team in RBIs and home runs with 17 and three. The pitching staff has a combined 3.92 ERA. The majority of NMSU’s innings are pitched by Kayla Green with a 3.53 ERA and a 4-6 record through her first 10 decisions.

Reporting by: Ty Bianucci, Kaleb Searle