The Ute's softball team defended the diamond in a three game series against UCLA. Ute's pitcher Hailey Hilburn started in the third game Sat. March 31. (Photo by: Justin Prather / Daily Utah Chronicle)

After a series on the road, the University of Utah softball team returned home to Salt Lake City to host No. 9 Arizona State University in three games. The Utes were unable to come up with a win and they fell in each game, suffering a series sweep for the fifth time this season.

In the series opener on Friday evening, Utah went scoreless as they lost to the Sun Devils 12-0. Utah’s power hitters were silenced as the Utes only notched three hits in the first contest.

The Sun Devils took advantage of every opportunity given to them by the Utah defense and came away with the five-inning victory.

“We set a lot of little goals within the game because we play a game of failure and so we try to find positives in what we do,” said head coach Amy Hogue.  “I think that they are starting to understand that if they accomplish some of the small goals, that it keeps us in the game and it gives us the chance to win at the end.”

In Saturday’s contest, the two teams remained tied at one until the fifth inning, when ASU broke the game open with three runs. Senior Heather Bowen kept her contributions up, earning an RBI for the Utes. Utah managed one more run in the seventh thanks to freshman Julia Noskin, but could not mount the comeback and fell 7-2. The Utes would hope to close the weekend out with a win on Sunday.

“We didn’t come out with the wins and that was what we wanted, but we had little individual goals and things we wanted to accomplish and we did well with those,” said Bowen. “I think we can take some positives out of this weekend and into next weekend.”

Utah came out strong into the first inning of game three, and got an early two run lead off of a home run from Bowen, taking both her and Noskin home. In the top of the fourth, the Sun Devils took the lead with a three run shot, but the Utes got out of the inning shortly after.

BreOnna Castaneda started off the second with a double to center, but the team was unable to capitalize in the inning. Castaneda also helped facilitate a double play in the top of the fifth, to bring them to their next at bats.

With one out in the bottom of the fifth, Ally Dickman powered up and hit a solo homerun over the right field fence to tie the game at three. In a tight game where every run counts, the junior outfielder knows what it feels like to contribute to the team effort.

“[The hit] felt really good,” said Dickman.  “Honestly I didn’t know that it was the tying run until after.  It just felt like all the hard work and everything we have been fighting for is coming together.”

ASU battled in the top of the sixth to put runners on and managed to collect one more run in the inning. Unfortunately, the Utes were unable to capitalize, even after putting a runner on second they fell 4-3 to the Sun Devils in the final game of the series.  

“I thought we did really well today,” said Bowen.  “We struggled in some areas and I think we could clean up a few things, and we have been able to compete better in those first few games, but today we really came out and we locked in those couple things and we fought all the way to the end and it was a close game, so that was a good feeling.”

The Utes will travel to Eugene, Oregon to take on the No 2. University of Oregon, with game one starting at 8 p.m. MT on Friday.

Casey Overfield
Casey Overfield is in her second year at the University of Utah. This is her second year as a sports writer for the Chronicle, where she is the assistant editor for the sports desk. Casey is also a member of the Pride of Utah marching band, and hopes to be a sports writer after graduation.

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