Softball: Utes Prepare For Florida State, And A Shot At The College World Series

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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

This weekend the Utah softball team travels to Tallahassee, Florida to battle Florida State in the NCAA Super Regionals. The Utes advanced to Super Regionals after beating Illinois and Kentucky – two out of three times. For Utah, the Super Regionals are a chance to get to the College Softball World Series for the first time since 1994, when head coach Amy Hogue was a senior with the Utes.

Earlier this season, Hogue said that the number one goal for the Utes is getting back to the College World Series.

“Our goal is to get back to the College World Series, and we’re getting close,” Hogue said.

Only Florida State stands in front of Hogue and the Utes’ path to a spot in the final eight. The Seminoles are No.7 in the country, and 51-8 overall. Florida State lost only two games in the ACC – falling to Illinois and Notre Dame. The Seminoles won both the regular season ACC championship and the ACC tournament.

Leading Florida State offensively is Alex Powers and Jessica Warren. Powers is batting .384, with 14 home runs and 58 RBIs, while Warren is batting .380 with 17 home runs and 72 RBIs. Warren’s 72 RBIs are tied for fourth best in all of college softball.

In the circle for the Seminoles will be Jessica Burroughs and Meghan King. Burroughs has a 1.93 ERA and a 26-5 record in 36 appearances for Florida State, and King has a 2.17 ERA and a 24-3 record in 42 appearances for the Seminoles.

For Utah, the key to winning two out of the three games and advancing to the World Series will be scoring first, then keeping up the pressure. Florida State is 40-1 when they strike first, but 5-7 when their opposition scores first.

Leading the Ute offense is the duo of Hannah Flippen and Anissa Urtez. Flippen was lauded with accolades after her outstanding regular season, including Pac-12 Player of The Year, National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-Region First Team, and All Pac-12 First Team. She was also invited to play for the USA Softballl Elite Team. Flippen, who leads the Utes in batting average (.422), runs scored (50), home runs (13), and total bases (114), is the most crucial player on the Utah offense. Urtez leads the Utes in hits (69), RBIs (46), and doubles (16.)

In the circle for the Utes will be Katie Donovan and Miranda Viramontes. Donovan is 20-10 with a 2.31 ERA and Viramontes is 9-8 with a 2.70 ERA. The pitcher pair will have to work hard to shut down Florida State’s offense, which scores seven runs a game.

Urtez is confident going into the best-of-three series on the Seminoles’ home field.

“Now we’re going to supers and in our minds we’re just two games away from going to the World Series, ” Uretz said. “If we could make top 16, we can do anything.”

The Utes and the Seminoles will face off Friday at 3 p.m., Saturday at 2:30 p.m., and Saturday at 5:30 p.m, if necessary. Hogue is equally as confident in her team heading into the Super Regionals.

“I feel like we’re established now and the sky’s kind of the limit now,” Hogue said.

j.coles@dailyutahchronicle.com

@JoeColesChrony

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