SB: Utes close out trip in California strong
It had already been a long weekend at the Mary Nutter Classic — but Utah's softball team couldn't leave California without a double-header against the University of San Diego on Monday afternoon.
A late rally in game one and a dominating performance in game two led Utah to a sweep — improving their record to 12-2 overall while picking up its first two road victories of the season.
Game 1: UTAH 6 — USD 6 (9 innings)
Seven innings wasn't enough time in the series opener, so both the Utes and Toreros were forced to keep playing under the sun.
After a scoreless eighth inning, Ellessa Bonstrom stepped to the plate in the ninth and with Alyssa Barrera already on base, hit the first pitch see saw over the center field fence for the 6-4 lead.
Sydney Sandez then continued her great start to the season with a scoreless ninth inning to pick up the win for the Utes.
Utah jumped all over USD in the third inning, scoring three runs for the early lead. With the bases loaded, Bonstrom was once again the hero as she jumped all over the first pitch she saw with a bases-clearing triple to right field.
Mary Beth Feldman, Utah's starting pitcher, was great through three innings but ran into trouble in the fourth when she was tagged for four runs, with a triple and a double doing the most damage.
Utah responded with a single run in the top of the fifth inning. After loading the bases BreOnna Castaneda hit a fielder's choice to the shortstop to score Julia Noskin, who reached base on a single to start the rally.
Sandez then entered in the bottom of the fifth inning and promptly shut the door the rest of the way.
She finished by throwing 5.0 innings, giving up just one hit with no walks in her outing. Feldman threw 4.0 innings, being tagged for four runs on four hits with four strikeouts.
Game 2: UTAH 8 — USD 0 (6 innings)
Sandez picked up her national-leading 10th win of the season in dominating fashion, throwing 5.0 innings and giving up no runs with one hit and two strikeouts. Halle Morris threw a scoreless sixth inning, giving up just one hit in that frame.
It took awhile for the Utah offense to get rolling, but once it did, the utes were unstoppable. They scored one run in the third, four in the fourth, two in the fifth and the game-winner in the sixth.
Haley Denning finished 2-for-4 with three runs and two RBI's from her leadoff spot to pace the Utes on offense. Madi Jacobus and Elicia Espinosa each added two RBI's, with Espinosa's being the first of her career following her pinch hit single. AJ Militello also added three runs scored while Bonstrom went a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate.
Utah next travels to Oklahoma this weekend to play double-headers on both Friday and Saturday. First pitch on Friday against Mercer is set for 11 a.m. MST before facing Oklahoma at 4 p.m. MST.