The Utah Valley University softball team closes preseason tournament play at the Colorado State Classic this weekend in Fort Collins, Colorado. The three-day tournament will run Friday to Sunday, March 9-11, at CSU's Ram Field.
The Wolverines will play a pair of games on Friday and Saturday, as well as a single game on Sunday morning. UVU opens the tournament against Idaho State on Friday at 9 a.m. MT and the host CSU Rams at 1:30 p.m. Utah Valley then faces both St. John's (9 a.m.) and Idaho State (11:15 a.m.) on Saturday, before closing the weekend against the St. John's Red Storm on Sunday at 9 a.m. Live stats will be available for all five games by visiting the CSU Rams website.
UVU enters the tournament with a 4-8 record after going 2-3 at the Red Desert Classic last weekend in St. George, Utah. The Wolverines picked up wins over Boise State (4-3) and in-state foe Southern Utah (9-6), but they fell to Nevada once and Weber State twice.
Utah Valley picked up its first win of the weekend via a walk-off victory over the Mountain West Broncos. With the game deadlocked in the bottom of the seventh inning at 3-3, Taleigh Williams and Eryn Sustayta helped set the table with back-to-back walks to put runners on first and second with nobody out. Following a pair of pop outs, Skylar Cook then put the ball in play with a bunt and pinch-runner Linnah Rebolledo came around to score from second on a throwing error to give the Wolverines the victory.
In the 9-6 win over the Thunderbirds, the long ball was key as UVU blasted out three home runs en route to recording its third victory of the season over SUU. Peyton Angulo, Madison Sisco and Lyndsay Steverson all homered in the game for the Wolverines. Angulo and Steverson's were both three-run shots, while Sisco's was a two-run homer. The Wolverines jumped out to a quick 9-1 lead in the contest and managed to hold on late to defeat the T-Birds by the score of 9-6.
The freshman Angulo led the Wolverines offensively at the Red Desert Classic by hitting .583 with two home runs and seven RBIs. Kirsten Andersen too added two home runs on the weekend by hitting .417 with a pair of homers and two RBIs. Addie Jensen led UVU in the circle by going 1-1 with two complete games and a 2.33 ERA in 15.0 innings of work.
With the breakout performance, Angulo now leads Utah Valley on the season with a .471 batting average, two home runs and eight RBIs, while Basia Query is next with a .368 clip, three doubles, a home run and three RBIs. Jensen paces the pitching staff with a 3-4 record, four complete games and a 2.39 ERA.
About the competition
Idaho State enters the weekend with a 0-10 record on the year. The Bengals first went winless in five games at UNLV's Marucci Desert Classic, before dropping five more contests at the UTEP Tournament two weeks ago. ISU holds three losses on the year against WAC foe New Mexico State, two against UTEP and one each versus San José State, UNLV, CSUN, Hawaii and Long Beach State. The Bengals were picked to finish fourth in the Big Sky this year after going 18-27 overall and 8-11 in league play in 2017.
Friday's opener will mark the 41st all-time series meeting between the Wolverines and Bengals. UVU enters play holding a 22-18 series lead, but ISU has won six of the last seven ballgames.
Colorado State is off to an 8-6 start in 2018. The Rams won eight of their first nine games before dropping five straight at the San Diego Classic last week. CSU holds wins over Texas, Wisconsin, Incarnate Word (two), Montana, Bryant, Troy and Northern Colorado. The Rams' losses have come to No. 12 Arizona, No. 20 Minnesota, Oregon State, Boston University, CSUN and San Diego. Colorado State was picked to finish sixth in the Mountain West this season after going 28-22 overall and 9-15 in conference play last year.
Friday afternoon's contest will mark just the second all-time meeting between UVU and CSU. Colorado State holds a 1-0 series lead after beating UVU, 12-3, in Fort Collins in 2010.
St. John's of the Big East Conference enters the weekend with a 4-12 record and having dropped 10 of its last 12 contests. The Red Storm is coming off a 1-2 outing at the TU Invitational at Towson last weekend. The Johnnies hold wins over East Carolina, Florida International, UC Riverside and Quinnipiac, as well as setbacks to No. 12 Arizona, No. 23 Nebraska, No. 25 Notre Dame, Northwestern, South Carolina, San José State, UC Davis, UCR, ECU, FIU and two to Bucknell. St. John's was picked to win the Big East this season after winning the Big East title a season ago with a 32-16 overall record and a 17-4 league mark.
Saturday's game will mark the first all-time meeting between the Wolverines and the Red Storm.
On deck for UVU
The Wolverines will head north next week for a doubleheader at Boise State on Wednesday, March 14, before trekking up to Missoula for a three-game series at Montana (March 15-17). Utah Valley will then return home the following week for its home opener on Wednesday, March 21.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit GoUVU.com.