Weber State at Utah Softball Preview

Weber State at Utah Softball Preview

by Zachary Knecht

Featured Image: Photo by NCAA Softball

Weber State Utah Softball Preview

The Weber State Wildcats conclude their non-conference season with a battle against their intrastate neighbors: the Utah Utes. Snowfall postponed the late-March doubleheader, but Utah is proud to get their rematch on Tuesday, April 11 in Salt Lake City.ย 

After a rough go in their initial Big Sky series against Portland State, the Wildcats are back on the road to face another one of the nationโ€™s top teams. Though the Utes are not ranked, they sit right outside the bubble of the top-25, falling out of the rankings after a couple of rocky series against Pac-12 foes. 

Firing on All Cylinders

Despite the recent slump, the Utes have one of the deepest lineups in the country. Led by Aliya Belarde and her .427 average, Utah is ninth in the country in BA at .336 and tenth in runs, averaging 6.94 per game. Good luck finding any holes in this offense. The Utes have five dominant hitters with BAs above .370, giving any opposing pitcher little forgiveness in getting through the order. 

Coming Off History

While Weber State doesnโ€™t have the depth in their lineup like Utah, they have some hot bats that will make you pay if you make a mistake. Mika Chong is the latest Wildcat to prove that with her three-home-run performance against Portland State, breaking the school record for most in a game. With an impressive weekend at home, Chong leads the team in batting average (.353), hits (30), and OPS (.952). 

McKell McCuistion and Lauren Hoe also supply the firepower in this offense but had relatively quiet weekends against the Vikings. The duo combined for three-of-18 hitting (.167 BA) and one RBI in the three contests but look to bounce back against top-tier competition. 

A Tale of Two Pitching Staffs

The biggest difference between these two rosters is their pitching staff. The Utes have a team ERA of 2.85, with Sydney Sandez leading the roster with a 2.54. In the other dugout, the Wildcats have an ERA of 6.39 with no standout performers besides Amanda Johnsonโ€™s workhorse load. Johnson is 5-11 on the year with a 5.27 ERA and started 17 of Weber Stateโ€™s 29 outings. She leads the team in almost all major statistical categories. 

This difference will be a lot to overcome for a roster that struggled against a lesser opponent than Utah, but WSU has the potential to compete with the best of them. The Wildcats proved that with their schedule to this point and proved it last year with a win over the Utes. It wonโ€™t be easy, but a victory in Salt Lake City would supply loads of confidence for a roster looking to repeat as champions in their conference. 

Game Time

The Wildcats travel to Salt Lake City to face the Utes on Tuesday, April 11 at 4 pm MST. 

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