After two weeks away from PAC-12 competition and a weekend off, the University of Utah softball team hit the road to compete against the University of California-Berkeley over a period of three days, April 20-22.
The weekend prior to traveling to Northern California, the Utes had enjoyed a break from competition.
“Even though we had a weekend off, we were still practicing hard and working out and even had a few games in the mix,” said freshman Julia Noskin. “I think that helped us physically and mentally stay in the Pac-12 mindset and it was like we didn’t even have the weekend off.”
The Utes had competed against three fellow Utah teams, winning one against Southern Utah University and two against Weber State, but falling to Brigham Young University.
Back in PAC-12 play, during their first game against Berkeley the Utes kept the Golden Bears scoreless until the fifth inning when a string of errors cost them five runs. Helping Cal out, their pitcher sat down 16 batters before Utah had their only big inning.
In the sixth, Utah gathered three runs off a home run from senior Heather Bowen, bringing her to eight home runs this season. Julia Noskin and Ally Dickman both scored.
In game two, the Utes struggled against strong pitching from Cal, whose pitcher, Zoe Conley, threw a complete game, sitting down seven of Utah’s batters. Utah managed one run in the first inning to take an early lead as Noskin walked and was moved around the bases before scoring on an error.
Unfortunately, the Utes were unable to capitalize further in the game, and they fell 7-1. Utah managed to stay one run apart from Berkeley until the fifth inning, when the Golden Bears scored five runs to win the game.
“Overall, we had some good moments this weekend, we changed some things up a bit so that got people trying newer things [and getting] out of their comfort zones, which helps you as a player,” said Noskin. “As a team, we were in every moment of the game and always had each other’s back. Also, some things that people have been working on showed this weekend.”
During their final game against Berkeley, the Utes scored first in the third inning off of a double from Bowen, which scored Ryley Ball, who reached base on a walk and quickly moved to third off of a steal and a ground ball. However, Berkeley quickly exited the third with a two-run lead.
The score stayed 3-1 for the remainder of the game, and Utah was unable to score again despite having runners on base in three of the following innings.
In the series, Utah managed nine hits against the Cal pitcher, and walked away from the weekend with a .127 average, going 9 for 71. They trailed behind Cal in runners on base by a considerable amount.
Each game, Utah started off strong with runners on at the beginning of the game, but they were unable to finish out and push through the games to pull up a win.
Noskin reached base five times and provided the Utes with runs, and was .500 for the series as the leadoff hitter. Bowen had a successful weekend, earning a number of RBIs for the team.
Utah returns to the Dumke Family Softball Stadium on Friday at 5 p.m. against No. 8 Arizona State.