Coming off a road game against Stanford, the No. 15 University of Utah softball team is back at the Dumke Softball Stadium this Friday, April 7 as it prepares for another three-game series against Cal.
Head coach Amy Hogue noted that Cal is a tough team with the speed and the ability to use a combination of high-caliber pitchers in every game it plays. In order to overcome that, Hogue said she might have to adjust her hitters, and she needs her team to play a solid defense.
“A lot like we did at Stanford, we have to adjust in order to have a shot to beat them, but our goal is to get on a roll at home,” Hogue said. “We have six in a row at home, and it would be nice to settle in and get comfortable on our home field.”
Senior Hannah Flippen also thinks Cal is a solid team, but if her team gets caught up in what the Bears are doing, the Utes will lose focus of their goals for the weekend.
“I think that it’s going to be important for us to focus on ourselves this weekend,” Flippen said. “We just need to focus on what we can do and what we can control, like our body language and the pitches that we swing at.”
Hogue believes that in order to secure all three wins over the Bears, she will use a combination of her pitchers, just like Cal, to throw off the Bears. Usually, the Utes change their pitchers on the third day, but it might need to be done in every game for this series.
Hogue thinks her team made a statement against the Cardinals by showing what a deadly combination it is to start with junior Katie Donovan and close with junior Miranda Viramontes. According to Hogue, it was “magically perfect,” and it is something the Utes are going to need in this upcoming series with Cal.
“We might need to split each game of a weekend series with both pitchers,” Hogue said. “I was really proud of Miranda [Viramontes] to come in and close the way she did. She threw the last six outs of the game and couldn’t have done it any better.”
Flippen mentioned her team spoke a lot about on-base percentage this past weekend, specifically via walks, because against Stanford it was the walks that helped them score in the end.
“I think it is going to be big for us to get out on the bases without getting hit[s],” Flippen said. “So we just need to improve on the little stuff that will lead to bigger stuff throughout the game.”
Friday’s pitch has been rescheduled to begin at 12 p.m., followed by Saturday’s and Sunday’s games at the same time.