Softball: Utes Hopes To Continue Hot Streak Against Cardinal

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Utah Women's Softball junior Kay Kay Fronda (11), junior Delilah Pacheco (4), and sophomore Heather Bowen (37) talk in the outfield during the game vs. the ASU Sun Devils at the Dumke Family Softball Stadium on campus on Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Stanford Cardinal, who are in last place in the Pac-12, roll into town on Friday for a three-game series with Utah softball, which is fourth in the Pac-12. The Cardinal are 0-12 in conference games, and 13-23 overall.

The Utes are coming off an exhilarating three-game series against No. 22 Arizona State, which was capped off in the third and last game by Utah’s first walk-off win of the season.

Stanford comes into the series on a six-game losing streak — the Cardinal’s last win came on April 6 against the University of the Pacific.

Leading the Cardinal on offense are Kylie Sorenson and Bessie Noll. Sorenson is batting .339 with eight home runs and 25 RBIs. Sorenson leads Stanford in total hits, with 38. Noll is batting .397 with 15 RBIs and six home runs. She also has seven doubles, the second-highest number on the team. The Cardinal offense averages 4.61 runs per game.

On defense, Stanford only has three pitchers on its roster. Carolyn Lee is the No. 1 hurler for Cardinal head coach Rachel Hanson. Lee has a 5.15 ERA and has appeared 24 times this season, starting all 24 of those games. In the 123 and two-thirds innings Lee has pitched, she has given up 107 runs on 170 hits.

The No. 2 pitcher in Stanford’s rotation is Haley Snyder. Snyder has the lowest ERA on the team at 5.13. She is 7-9 in 21 appearances, 11 of which were starts. Snyder has pitched 88 and two-thirds innings, and given up 82 runs in that span.

Kaitlyn Lagattuta is the Cardinal’s reliever, with an ERA of 7.98. She has pitched 16 and two-thirds innings this year. As a whole, Stanford is giving up 6.1 runs per game.

For the Utes, keeping their pitching at a high level is a top priority if they want to win. Utah only gave up eight runs in three games against the Arizona State offense last weekend, and the Sun Devils typically average six runs per game.

Head coach Amy Hogue has drilled resiliency into the heads of the Utes this year, especially last week.

“We’ve been talking about how to recover, so we got some practice at it [during the Arizona State game], and hopefully we can gain some confidence in the ability to make mistakes and still win ballgames,” Hogue said.

First baseman Bridget Castro knows something the team needs to continue working on is coming back from a deficit.

“We’ve always done great when we’re ahead, but when we’re losing, we haven’t done that great,” Castro said. “We worked on resiliency and not giving up until the end.”

Due to inclement weather, Utah has changed the schedule for the weekend’s games. Stanford and Utah will play a doubleheader beginning at 4 p.m. MT on Friday, then play the third and final game of the series on Sunday at 5 p.m. MT.

j.coles@dailyutahchronicle.com

@joecoleschrony

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