Courtesy: SUU Media Relations
SUU VISITS LEAGUE-LEADING HORNETS
CEDAR CITY, Utah - Southern Utah (10-18, 2-1 Big Sky) looks to pick up its second series win of the early Big Sky season as it visits Sacramento State (14-14, 3-0 Big Sky) for a three-game set this weekend. The Thunderbirds and Hornets will meet in a doubleheader on Friday at 1:00 p.m. (MT), followed by a finale on Saturday in another one o’clock start.
Sophomore Kylee Wolf hit her fourth home run on Saturday in a 10-5 win against Weber State to tie Kadi Henderson for the team lead in the category. Senior Madison Resley ranks among the conference’s top hitters with a .423 average. Freshman Jordan Theurer leads the SUU pitching staff with five wins, 43 strikeouts and 57.1 innings in the circle. The T-Birds’ .293 batting average and .375 on base percentage both rank second in the Big Sky.
Live stats and coverage for the games is available online at www.suutbirds.com.
LAST TIME OUT
Southern Utah opened conference play at home with a 2-1 series win over Weber State last week. The Thunderbirds came from behind to steal the opener, 8-7 in walkoff fashion, and doubled up WSU in the finale, 10-5. Jordan Theurer and Ariel Hart each collected victories in the circle for SUU. Hart struck out eight batters in 7.1 innings and posted a 1.91 ERA over the three-game set. Sophomore Kylee Wolf drove in five runs on a .583 average and junior catcher Lyndsey Healey homered for the first time as a T-Bird on her way to four RBI. SUU also played a pair of games on Tuesday, claiming a 4-1 victory over Utah State before falling to No. 3 Oregon by a score of 8-0. Senior Terysa Dyer drove in a pair of runs in the win against the Aggies.
Sacramento State swept North Dakota in the first week of Big Sky play to move to the top of the standings with a record of 3-0. The Hornets feature the league’s top pitching staff as junior Caitlin Brooks ranks first on a 1.31 ERA, Kaitlyn Yerby is third with a 2.22 ERA and Jennifer Hartmann sits fourth with a 2.82 ERA. Sophomore infielder Sasha Margulies anchors the lineup with a .351 average and 12 RBI on a team that bats .269 overall. Lori Perez is serving as the interim head coach after 21-year veteran Kathy Strahan announced her retirement during this past offseason. The Thunderbirds went 3-1 in their four meetings with Sacramento State last year.
Southern Utah begins its six-game Big Sky homestand on April 4th and 5th by hosting Portland State. The T-Birds will then make a quick trip to BYU for a single game on the 15th before returning to Cedar City for its last home series of the year against North Dakota later on in the week.
SUU SEASON OUTLOOK
The T-Birds return two all-conference performers in shortstop Kelli Hales and centerfielder Kylee Wolf, who both earned recognition as true freshmen. Wolf was one of the team’s top-hitters during the Big Sky season with a .404 batting average and Hales hit .318 while helping the infield lead the conference by turning 39 double plays. Senior pitcher Ariel Hart is also back after being named the BSC Newcomer of the Year for posting a record of 6-4 on a 4.80 ERA in conference play. Madison Resley will provide some power as she enters her senior year tied for fifth in the SUU record books with 19 career home runs, including four this past season. Southern Utah added seven new players for the 2014 campaign, including two freshmen and five junior college transfers.
“It was pretty unbelievable how Kylee was able to turn things around and hit that well during the second half of the season,” stated SUU head coach Kyle Magnusson. “Kelli is steady, you know what you are going to get everyday. She’s going to play good defense, she’s going to show up and she’s going to get her hits. Ariel throws the ball harder and has better pitches.”
HIT THE ROAD
Southern Utah’s first 25 games of the 2014 season were played on the road. The Thunderbirds’ schedule included stops in St. George, Utah; Fresno, Calif.; Phoenix, Ariz.; Fort Collins, Colo.; and Boise, Idaho before returning to Cedar City for their home-opener against Weber State on March 21. SUU is slated to host just ten of its 51 total contests this year at Kathryn Berg Field.
RESLEY NAMED BIG SKY PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Southern Utah’s Madison Resley was named the Softball Player of the Week by the Big Sky Conference after batting 8-16 for a .500 average as Southern Utah picked up a pair of wins over Nevada and Grand Canyon at the GCU Invitational.
The Salina, Kan. native hit two home runs in Phoenix to increase her total to three so far this year and extended her team-leading RBI count to 14 by driving in nine runs. Resley posted a .875 slugging percentage to go along with a .579 obp while starting all six games and crossed home plate three times.
Resley held a .485 batting average at the end of the week as well as a .758 slugging percentage. She was also on nine-game hitting streak and had four multiple hit games.
The SUU roster includes seven junior college transfers this season, four of which joined the Thunderbirds from nationally recognized softball powerhouse Salt Lake Community College. Coach Magnusson was a former coach with the Bruins, who have appeared in the NJCAA national championship game in each of the past four seasons.
SUU added another Ms. Softball from Utah as Jordan Theurer joined the Thunderbird lineup for the 2013 season. The right-handed pitcher and slugger garnered numerous accolades during her prep career at Bear River High School including being named the 2012 ESPN Gatorade Player of the Year, a 2012 Wendy’s Heisman State Finalist, as well as capturing various MVP awards and three consecutive state titles. As a senior, Theurer posted a .517 batting average to go along with a 1.83 ERA in the circle. She cemented her name in the Utah high school record books with 16 doubles, 48 RBI, 11 shutouts and three no-hitters in a single season, four perfect games and 20 career shutouts.
BIG SKY PRESEASON POLL
Southern Utah was picked third for a second consecutive season in the preseason coaches poll released by the Big Sky Conference, picking up one first-place vote. Idaho State earned the top spot after being voted number one by five coaches and Sacramento State came in second while also receiving a first-place nomination. Portland State was selected fourth, followed by Northern Colorado in fifth with Weber State and North Dakota rounding out the bottom of the poll.
Fri. Apr. 24
@ North Dakota
(L) 4 -6
Fri. Apr. 24
@ North Dakota
(W) 8 -0
Sun. Apr. 19
(W) 7 -6
Sat. Apr. 18
(L) 2 -6
Sat. Apr. 18
(L) 2 -8
Thu. Apr. 16
(L) 1 -5
Sat. Apr. 25
@ North Dakota
Fri. May. 1
vs. Northern Colorado (DH)
Sat. May. 2
vs. Northern Colorado