SUU Strategic Communications

Thunderbirds Resume League Play at IUPUI this Weekend

April 04, 2012
By SUU Strategic Communication

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CEDAR CITY, Utah - Southern Utah University softball will return to the diamond this weekend for a Summit League series in Indianapolis against the IUPUI Jaguars. The road trip is only the second league trip for the Thunderbirds, having opened their conference road schedule at Western Illinois near the end of March.

SUU will enter the games with an overall record of 20-16, including the third-best mark in Summit League play with an 8-4 record. The Thunderbirds have captured all three of their home series against conference competition this season, but have yet to take a road series in the Summit League, falling in two of three games at Western Illinois.

Southern Utah has relied on its bats for most of its wins this season, leading the Summit League with a team average of .321. The Thunderbirds also have the first and second-leading batters in the league with Mikkel Griffin first with a .435 average and Terysa Dyer second with a .411 average.

SUU pitchers have also been strong with Heather Black leading the team with 13 wins in 131.1 innings pitched and 94 strikeouts. The senior is more than half a run better in 2012 than she was in 2011, with an ERA of 2.66 versus an ERA of 3.28 last season.

Southern Utah’s Achilles’ heel this year has been its team defense as the Thunderbirds are last in the Summit League with a .937 fielding percentage, having committed 66 errors in 36 games so far this season.

The teams will open the three-game set on Friday with a doubleheader scheduled for 2:00 p.m. (MT) with the series finale on Saturday at 10:00 a.m. (MT). Fans can follow the games via a live stat feed that is anticipated to be available online at Fans should be aware that the stat feed will originate from IUPUI with the stats saving over the top of each game.

Last time

Southern Utah dropped a pair of games at Brigham Young University on Tuesday, falling 8-0 in five innings and 6-4 in the nightcap.

Scouting IUPUI

IUPUI will enter the games this weekend with an overall record 10-23, including a  2-7 mark in Summit League play. The Jaguars have posted conference victories over Western Illinois in Indianapolis and South Dakota in Vermillion.

IUPUI has hit .223 this season with Nicole Checkle leading the team with an average of .298, 28 hits and six doubles. Checkle is also tied for the team lead in stolen bases with 10 on 10 attempts, tying teammate Ashley Seering who also has 10 stolen bases on 13 attempts.

The Jaguars pitching staff currently has an ERA of 3.28 while allowing opposing teams to hit .238 from the plate. Nikki Thomas and Jocelyn Oppenhuis have shared the pitching load, throwing 89.2 and 88.1 innings, respectively. Oppenhuis leads the team with four wins and 80 strikeouts on the year.

Last time against IUPUI

Southern Utah won two of three over IUPUI in Cedar City in 2011, but had to make a pair of comebacks in games two and three to take the series. The Thunderbirds were down 11-1 in game two and 6-2 in game three only to come back and take the games 13-12 and 13-6, respectively.