In its Pac-12 home opener, the University of Utah softball team hosted Stanford University in three games, from Saturday to Monday. The two teams played a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon and completed play on Monday afternoon after the Sunday game was postponed due to weather.
Utah took two wins and one loss, as they completed their second PAC-12 series of the 2018 season. These games brought their overall record up to 17-12.
“It’s always nice to play at home, and the outcomes can only be positive for the team,” said senior pitcher Katie Donovan. “Knowing our fans and having our field to play on is good. We know our stadium the best and we feel comfortable playing here.“
In game one on Friday, the Utes fell to Stanford 5-4 despite their push at a comeback. Utah’s early lead in the first inning was short-lived with Stanford matching the score in the second inning.
Stanford started the third inning with a triple and a run scored. They capitalized once again three innings later with three more runs.
After a rain delay postponed the seventh inning, Utah made a comeback scoring three runs, but they were unable to move their tying run home, thus ending with a loss for the Utes.
“I think that rebound from the first loss started before that first game was even over,” Donovan said. “We put some runs on the board in the 7th even though we didn’t win. We had to remind ourselves what it means to Utah softball and to keep up our confidence, we need to play well which is what we did.”
Game two on Friday brought successful hits for the Utes, as they pulled a 9-6 win over Stanford to split the series before game three.
Stanford started off the game with a quick two runs off of craft hitting and taking advantage of errors from the Utes. Utah answered right back with three runs to take the 3-2 lead.
After being tied in the second inning with five runs each, Utah broke away and came ahead 7-6 at the end of the third. The Utes took two more runs in the fourth giving them a three run lead, and that is where they stayed as they closed out their first win of the series.
“As a team, I think that our pitch selection was better,” Donovan said. “In general, the pitchers did really well coming in and helping each other out. We played more like how we should play. The little things added up more in our favor this weekend.”
Utah pulled a big win in the final game of the series Monday afternoon. The team scored 13 runs and had twice as many hits as Stanford at the end of their five inning, 13-0 shutout.
Senior Miranda Viramontes collected the win after pitching the first four innings of the game, she was aided by Hailey Hilburn.
The Utes had some big hits from Heather Bowen, Julia Noskin, Alyssa Barrera and Hilburn to start off the game. Utah continued its strong hitting throughout the game to pull through with a victory.
The Utes are back in Salt Lake City Thursday night to host No. 4 UCLA at 6 p.m.