PORTLAND, Ore. -- After four months of practices and games, the most the Weber State University women's softball team heads into the final weekend of the regular season with but one goal in mind.
Trailing Portland State by one game in the Pacific Coast Softball Conference's Mountain Division, Weber State takes aim at the Vikings this weekend in a four-game series that will determine the divisional winner and which team will advance to the Pacific Coast championship series.
First pitch of the series between the Wildcats and Vikings is set for 1 p.m. today, with a second game to follow. The teams will play a second doubleheader on Sunday, beginning at 12 p.m.
Weber State (10-6 Pacific Coast, 21-28 overall) needs to win at least three of the four games in order to overturn Portland State's one-game advantage in the standings. The Vikings (11-5, 21-23) are the defending league champions, and were the preseason pick to win the divisional title.
To claim the series and win the title, the Wildcats will have to accomplish something they've never done in beating the Vikings. Portland State is the only PCSC team that Weber State has not defeated, with PSU holding an 8-0 series advantage.
The Wildcats and Vikings have taken nearly identical paths to this weekend's series, with the lone separating game coming from Portland State capturing three games against Utah Valley in a conference-opening series and Weber State splitting four with the Wolverines last weekend. Both teams posted 3-1 series wins vs. Idaho State and Seattle, and both split a 2-2 series with Northern Colorado on the road.
The series will feature three of the top four hitters conference going head-to-head, with Weber State's Lyndsey Minnich leading the Mountain Division with a .417 batting average, following by Sarah Clark's .402. Portland State's Alicia Fine is fourth in the league, batting .394.
Minnich continues to lead the Wildcats' offense with 58 hits, 49 RBIs and 46 runs scored. Minnich is 14th in the nation in slugging percentage, 15th in on-base percentage, 16th in home runs, 23rd in batting average, 28th in RBIs, and 30th in runs scored.
Clark is second on the team, hitting .402, and has 53 hits -- the second most in school history behind Minnich's 58 -- along with 31 RBIs and 28 runs scored.
As a team, Weber State is 16th in the nation in slugging percentage and 27th in the county in batting average, with seven players batting .307 or better.
The weekend's series also features the two of the division's top pitchers, with Portland State's Anna Bertrand (18-11, 10-4, 1.87 ERA) and Clark (16-11, 7-3, 3.56 ERA).
Clark has made 36 appearances on the mound where she has a single-season record 145 strikeouts, and is the Wildcats' career strikeout leader.
The winner of this weekend's series will face the winner of the PCSC's Coastal Division on May 11-12 at the site of the Coastal champion, with the winner of that best-of-three series advancing to the NCAA tournament.