After dropping its first two games of the series, the No. 10 University of Utah softball team (33-11, 13-6 Pac-12) managed to shutout the Oregon State Beavers (27-23, 8-13 Pac-12) in game three to close the weekend action.
“We struggled, but we fought through it, and I liked how we finished the weekend,” said head coach Amy Hogue. “If we are going to have a weekend where we struggle, I’d rather have now than later.”
In the first game of the series, the Utes were unable to garner any runs as they were shutout, 5-0. In the top of the seventh inning, Utah had its final chance to get on the board. Bridget Castro walked before being replaced by pinch runner Ryley Ball. BreOnna Castaneda singled up the middle, but immediately after Kay Kay Fronda popped up to center to close the game.
In game two on Saturday, Utah fell 3-1 to end its chance at winning the series. The Utes took the first lead of the game when they put up their lone run in the top of the fifth off a homerun from Castaneda, but the Beavers offense came alive in the bottom of the sixth when they fired back with three runs. In the final inning, two Utes walked, but Utah was unable to capitalize and drive them home.
Utah owned game three as they shutout the Beavers, 6-0. The Utes put up two runs in the second and from then on, they could not be stopped. Castaneda walked before Fronda stepped up to the plate and blasted a two-run homerun. In the top of the third, Utah added another run after Hannah Flippen doubled, and Anissa Urtez hit an RBI single to send Flippen home.
In the fourth, Castaneda and Fronda singled before Delilah Pacheco reached on a fielder’s choice. Castaneda got out at third, and Alyssa Barrera walked to load the bases. Flippen reached on a fielding error that allowed Fronda to score another run. Urtez then walked to send Pacheco home and close the inning.
One final run was scored for the Utes in the last inning of the game. Castro singled to center field, and after advancing to second on a throw, Ball pinch ran for Castro. Ball quickly scored on an RBI single off the bat of Kelly Martinez to end the Sunday contest.
“This weekend didn’t really turn out the way that we wanted it to by losing the series, but it showed us that we can come back and win,” Fronda said. “We are a tough team and that’s what it’s all about. A new goal for us is we are not going to lose two games in a row anymore. That’s our outlook now.”
Katie Donovan (15-8) earned the win after pitching 5 1/3 innings allowing three hits, four walks and striking out four.
“We played a great game today,” Hogue said. “Every area was solid with defense and offense so we are hoping it puts us on a good role going into our last home weekend of the regular season.”
Up next for the Utes, they host Washington beginning Thursday, May 11 at 7 p.m. MT. Friday’s game will take place at 6 p.m. MT, and the final game of the regular season is Saturday at 1 p.m. MT.