CEDAR CITY - The Weber State softball team will take its red-hot bats on the road again this weekend for a three-game series with in-state, and future Big Sky Conference, rival Southern Utah.
The Wildcats and Thunderbirds will tangle at noon and 2 p.m. on Saturday, with the finale set for noon on Sunday.
Weber State (3-7) had four players hit better than .444 during last weekend's Troy Cox Classic in Las Cruces, N.M., led by senior second baseman Symbree Minniear's scorching .667. Minniear was named as the Pacific Coast Softball Conference's Mountain Division player of the week for her performance, which including 10 RBIs, three home runs - one of which was a grand slam, a triple and a double. The Murray native is currently tied for the PCSC lead in total hits this season with 16.
Senior Lyndsey Minnich hit .500 with nine hits, knocking out four home runs - including a grand slam of her own, and 11 RBIs. Freshman Cydnee Clarke hit .563 with nine hits, bringing in five RBIs, a pair of doubles and a home run.
As a team, the Wildcats smashed out 54 hits and scored 44 runs during the five-game tournament.
"We've spent a lot more time on our hitting fundamentals, along with our mental approach to our at-bats," Weber State coach Tina Johnson said. "I felt we needed to keep it simple, but really work on being mentally tougher in the box. It's amazing how one year of experience can make such a difference with our hitters. They now understand the adjustments we are asking them to make, and how important it us to have a plan for each at-bat.
"Hitting is very much mental and confidence, and right now we've got some players really dialed in. It's great to see all of their hard work paying off. If we swing the bats as well as we have been we should be in a lot of games."
On the mound, the Wildcats do have a little work to do in terms of consistency, hitting spots and adjusting to strike zones.
"We've got some improvements to make on the mound," Johnson said. "Pitching is all about spots and movement on the ball; adjusting to the umpire's strike zone and using that to our advantage. This weekend, with a three-game series, I believe our pitching staff will be a lot better. They'll be rested and physical be ready for the games. They'll still have to hit spots and stay with the game plan to beat hitters for three games in a row, but I know that they have the ability to do it and show the rest of the team they've got their backs."
Southern Utah is 4-6 overall, and is coming off a two-game sweep of in-state rival Utah State on Monday in St. George. The Thunderbirds will be making their home debut at Kathryn Berg Field this weekend, with their four previous "home" games being played in St. George.
"I'm not worried about our defense. They are improving every game, and playing more consistently and much smarter," Johnson said. "We're confident about where we are as a team, and know that as long as all three aspects of the game flow for us, we'll have a chance to be successful against SUU."
After this weekend's trip south, the Wildcats will head east for a five games at the Colorado State Classic in Fort Collins, Colo., from March 2-4.