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

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Photo by Brigham Berthold

The UVU baseball team opens a three-game series with conference opponent Chicago State on Friday with a doubleheader scheduled for Saturday. The Wolverines have not had trouble with the Cougars in the past, going 26-2 all-time.

CSU has a poor record overall but has a .500 record in WAC play, including a series victory over preseason favorite Seattle University. The Cougars own a conference-low .252 batting average as a team and rank last in the WAC in every major offensive category.

Infielder Matt Sullivan leads CSU with a .310 batting average with 26 hits on the season and four doubles. Jacob Vanitvelt, an outfielder, is another offensive threat with eight doubles on the year and 36 hits overall to keep a .293 average.

Jake Perkins, a senior out of Huntley, Illinois, is the Cougars’ best pitcher having started eight games with a 3.45 ERA. Perkins, who has a 2-3 record, has pitched 47 innings and hitters are batting .264 off him. He has struck out 35 batters in those innings, leaving an opportunity for UVU to put the ball in play when facing him. Reliever Noe Arteaga has made 13 appearances out of the bullpen this season and has struck out 15 batters in 21 2/3 innings pitched.

The Wolverine softball team will continue WAC play this week, hitting the road to Phoenix, Arizona for a three-game series with Grand Canyon University. The ‘Lopes, who tied with New Mexico State University for the top spot in the preseason coaches poll, were in third place in the conference standings after going 3-3 through the first six games of league play. GCU went 25-11 in nonconference play and is very good on its home field, winning 16 of the first 21 games played there this season.

The ‘Lopes have seven players batting over .300 on the season, led by Camree Wartman and Shea Smith with averages of .351 and .346, respectively. Wartman also leads the team in RBIs with 33, but GCU has a balanced offensive attack with six players tallying 19 or more RBIs this season. The real story this season for the ‘Lopes, though, has been their pitching and defense. Scoring against them has proven to be a monumental task. The pitching staff of Brianna Aguilar-Beaucage, Taylor Nowlin and Mariah Valencia has a combined 2.94 ERA. The ‘Lopes have six shutouts and eight games with one run allowed. They’ve allowed more than four runs in just nine games so far.