Aggie softball enjoying its best season in decades

#12 Kellie White

LOGAN – The Utah State softball team posted its best record in two decades last spring. The 26-25 finish was the first winning season for Aggie softball since 1996.

Now, things are looking even better. USU has jumped out to a 21-7 start and have the current top spot in the Mountain West Conference standings. Head coach Steve Johnson said it is the first time the team has been this high in the standings this late in the season since he became coach in 2013.

“We won our first two series with UNLV and Nevada and currently sitting in first place,” he said.

The team is climbing the national rankings in several categories. The Aggies rank No. 7 in triples with .5 per game, No. 8 in stolen bases with 2.32 per game, No. 8 in slugging percentage with a .525 mark, No. 10 in batting average at .340, No. 21 in scoring with 6.25 runs per game and No. 44 in ERA at 2.36.

Johnson said the ERA is as low as it’s been since he has been coach, and that the batting average hasn’t been this high.

“You get those two things going with the talent we have on the field,” he said. “Plus, we have a lot more speed. We already have 65 stolen bases on the year. The school record is 67 so I’m confident we’ll break that.”

Johnson said the goal is a conference championship. In order to do that, he thinks the team needs to keep winning each series and hopefully get a few sweeps. He said the Mountain West team to beat is still Fresno State, even though the Bulldogs lost its head coach and a key recruit.

“They had an unbelievable year last year,” he said. “They went to regionals and went 23-1 in conference play.”

The Aggies will travel to Idaho to face Boise State in a three-game series that starts Friday. After that, it’s a home game against BYU on April 5 at 4 p.m., and a three-game series at home against Fresno State from April 7 to 9.

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Freshman Kellie White, who earned the Mountain West Pitcher of the Week honors last week, has never played against BYU, but has heard about the rivalry.

“It’s going to be a good game,” she said. “I’ve heard from the past that it’s definitely a battle whether it’s the first inning or the seventh inning. It’s a ball game.”

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Freshman outfielder Riley Plogger, who completed the Aggies’ conference honors sweep by grabbing the Player of the Week, is also looking forward to her first game against BYU.

“They’ve gotten some good rankings, they have some pretty good players and they’re having a pretty good year,” she said. “We’ll be on our home field, and we’ve been having a good year too.”

Johnson encouraged the Aggie fans who are planning on going to the USU football spring scrimmage on April 8 to walk over and watch the softball game against Fresno State after. The game will be a “pink out” and will start at 3:30 p.m.

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