This past weekend, the University of Utah softball team competed in the Mary Nutter Classic in Cathedral City, California. The Utes took on Syracuse, Arkansas, Cal Poly SLO, Fordham, Loyola Marymount and UC Santa Barbara in their six-game series.
After splitting Saturday’s contest with one victory and one loss, the Utes came back with two big wins on Sunday. They closed the weekend going 1-1 on Monday.
Senior pitcher Katie Donovan earned three wins over the weekend, throwing against Syracuse, Fordham and UC Santa Barbara.
“I was really just focusing on playing my best and getting the best start to the season that I can,” Donovan said. “As our second time out as a team, we have really been getting to know each other, and [learning] to play as a single unit.”
Against Syracuse, Donovan and Hailey Hilburn allowed only two hits, with Donovan earning her 450th career strikeout. Utah was helped with hits from BreOnna Castaneda and Alyssa Barrera. Utah took the 6-0 win to start off the tournament.
In game two against Arkansas, the Utes struggled from the start as they gave up an early home run to start off down one run. Arkansas continued to build on their lead.
In an attempt to get ahead in the game, the Utes had some crafty hitting and timely hits that put them up 2-1. This advantage didn’t last for long, and Utah fell to Arkansas, 4-2.
Game three, and the first game on Sunday gave the Utes a win over Cal Poly and gave Miranda Viramontes her first win of the weekend. Barrera went 3-for-4 in the game, and she helped the Utes to a 7-2 victory. Utah was aided with powerful hitting up and down the lineup from all of the players.
Utah took a second win on Sunday against Fordham, with Donovan earning the victory on the mound. Kelly Martinez brought in four runs to help lift the Utes to their 7-2 victory. Hilburn and Abby Robertson also contributed key hits for the Utes to solidify their win.
“They just started to understand themselves a little bit more this weekend,” said head coach Amy Hogue. “There was an individual adjustment to be made, and they made those changes on an individual level.”
Monday started off with a 4-1 loss to Loyola Marymount. LMU scored early on errors and took a 3-0 lead at the beginning of the game. Despite a few opportunities, the Utes were not able to capitalize and eventually fell short.
Viramontes suffered another loss on the mound, but she came away with 16 strikeouts in three games.
Utah concluded its classic with a win against UC Santa Barbara. Hilburn had another impressive performance at the plate, and Donovan earned her third victory.
Donovan allowed only three hits en route to the win, and she struck out 32 players during the tournament. In this final game, she matched her personal record of nine strikeouts.
Utah has an off weekend coming up as they prepare to travel to Texas on Friday, March 2 for the Texas A&M tournament in College Station, Texas.