The Utah Valley University softball team heads to Southern California for seven games in five days this week. The Wolverines open the busy stretch with a doubleheader at Cal State Northridge on Wednesday.
Following Wednesday's twin bill at CSUN, UVU takes part at the Long Beach Louisville Slugger Invitational on Friday through Sunday.
The Wolverines face Weber State and Stanford on Friday, Wichita State and Portland State on Saturday, and Southern Utah on Sunday. UVU plays at a different ballpark all three days, as Friday's games are played at the Mayfair Park in Lakewood, Saturday's take place at Cal State Fullerton's Anderson Family Field in Fullerton and Sunday's game versus the Thunderbirds is at Long Beach State's 49er Softball Complex in Long Beach.
Live stats for all seven games will be available by visiting UVU's website.
"We are excited to get into this week's games after having a week off to train," head coach Nikki Palmer said. "The girls are anxious to see competition in a 10-game stretch and pick up some big wins."
After taking last week off, the Wolverines enter Wednesday with a 5-5 overall record. UVU most recently picked up its first win in program history over a ranked opponent with a 9-0 shutout over then-No. 25 Cal State Fullerton at the Wilson/DeMarini Desert Classic in Henderson, Nevada, on Feb. 15. In that monumental win, Bailey Moore pitched a complete game gem, and Brittney Vansway, Brianna Gatlin and Taleigh Williams supplied the offense as each slugged out home runs. Utah Valley also recorded a 9-3 win over New Mexico of the Mountain West at the Wilson/DeMarni Desert Classic.
Besides the victories over the Titans and Lobos, Utah Valley also holds a trio of wins over power conference teams as it also defeated Wisconsin, Indiana and Virginia at the season-opening Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Arizona, the previous week.
Williams leads UVU with an even .400 batting average while six other Wolverines are hitting higher than .300 on the young season. Dynasty Lauvai is next with a .350 clip, while Haley Harrison is right behind her at .345. Vansway leads the club in the power department with three home runs and nine RBIs.
Makayla Shadle is tops in the circle for UVU with a 2-1 record and a 3.56 ERA. Moore is next with a 4.31 earned run average and a 3-4 clip.
About the competition
CSUN faces St. John's on Tuesday before welcoming the Wolverines to town Wednesday. The Matadors enter the week 12-3 overall after going 4-1 for the third-straight week last weekend at the GCU Invitational. Northridge finished 31-26 a year ago and placed sixth in the Big West with an 8-13 conference clip. Wednesday's contests will mark the first all-time meetings between the two programs.
Weber State enters Friday's game at 5-5 overall with a pair of victories over Bradley and Grand Canyon, as well as a win over CSUN. The Wildcats finished 2014 with a 22-25 record and placed fifth in the Big Sky at 4-10. Friday's game will mark the 22nd all-time meeting between the in-state foes. UVU enters play with a 15-6 series advantage.
Stanford is currently receiving votes for the top 25 and enters the tournament with a 9-8 record. The Cardinal defeated Oklahoma State last weekend but went just 1-4 at the Mary Nutter Classic in Cathedral City, California. Stanford finished 30-25 a year ago and took eighth in the Pac-12 at 5-19. Friday's game will mark the first all-time meeting on the diamond between the two programs.
Wichita State enters the weekend 7-7 on the year after going 1-4 with a win over Villanova at the EMU Madeira Beach Tournament last week in Madeira Beach, Florida. The Shockers went 34-21 in 2014 and won the Missouri Valley Conference with a 21-6 league record. Saturday's game will mark the first all-time meeting between the two teams.
Portland State enters the tournament 4-6 this season with wins over UVU, Boise State, UTEP and Nevada. The Vikings handed the Wolverines a 10-0 setback at the Wilson/DeMarini Desert Classic two weeks ago. PSU went 8-36 in 2014 and took seventh in the Big Sky at 3-14. Saturday's game will mark the 17th all-time meeting, and the Vikings enter play with a 10-6 series advantage.
Southern Utah enters the weekend at 2-7 on the year after picking up wins over Bakersfield and Kent State last week. SUU will play four times prior to Sunday's meeting against the Wolverines. The T-Birds went 23-31 last season and placed third in the Big Sky at 10-6. Sunday's tournament finale will mark the 21st all-time meeting between the in-state foes. SUU holds an 8-11-1 all-time advantage.
Up next for the Wolverines
Following the busy week, UVU heads to Lubbock, Texas, next weekend to take part at the Texas Tech Invitational on March 6-8. There, Utah Valley faces Texas-Arlington and host Texas Tech twice, as well as UT Martin once. The Wolverines then return to Southern California the following weekend for the San Diego Classic II on March 13-15.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.