University of Utah junior pitcher Hailey Hilburn (30) pitches the ball during an NCAA Softball game vs the BYU Cougars at Dumke Family Softball Stadium in Salt Lake City, UT on Wednesday April 18, 2018. (Photo by Curtis Lin/ Daily Utah Chronicle)

 

After a weekend of hosting non-conference teams, the University of Utah softball team is hosting another Pac-12 team. The No. 5 University of Arizona will come to Salt Lake City to face the Utes in three games this weekend.

Overall against the Wildcats, the Utes are 4-2, and they have won both of the last two series that have been played in Salt Lake City. Last year, Utah traveled to Tucson and lost all three games to Arizona.

 

Scouting the Utes

In their last appearance, the Utes hosted both Utah Valley University for one game and Oklahoma University for two. The team was not successful against the Sooners, and they fell in both games in their doubleheader.

On Tuesday evening, the Wolverines traveled up from Orem and came out on top over the Utes. Despite loading the bases early in the game, the Utes didn’t score until the third inning when Makayla Hurst brought in Alyssa Barrera.

UVU tied up the game in the fourth, but Utah took the lead right back in their half of the fourth when Ellessa Bonstrom doubled and then moved to third. She came home on a wild throw.

UVU quickly brought the game back under their control thanks to a two-run home run in the sixth, and then scored two more runs on back-to-back doubles, resulting in a 5-2 loss.

Utah is holding onto a 13-21 overall record, and they are 2-4 in Pac-12 conference play. The Utes are riding on an eight-game losing streak, but they are looking to turn that around this weekend.

 

Scouting the Wildcats

The No. 5 Wildcats are currently sitting first place in the Pac-12 and they are undefeated in nine conference matchups. They have a 27-7 overall record, and they have nine straight victories right now.

In their last time out, Arizona swept their in-state foes, Arizona State University. In three games, the Wildcats scored 18 runs and allowed none. Two of the games were mercy rules and they ended early in Arizona’s favor.

Before they face the Utes, the Wildcats will play a doubleheader against the University of Texas at El Paso.

 

Utes to Look Out For

Barrera is leading both the team and the Pac-12 in triples, with five. She has a .398 batting average and she has racked up 41 hits so far this season.

Bonstrom is the Pac-12 leader in slugging percentage (1.250), while she reaches base more than half of the time during games.

Senior Ally Dickman has come out as a hitter in the past few games for Utah. She is currently on a 10 game hitting streak, and she has reached base in each of the past 12 games. She has only four strikeouts in 85 at bats and she is leading the Utes in home runs with four. She is batting .379 over the last 17 games.

 

Wildcats to Look Out For

Senior pitcher Taylor McQuillan threw two of the three shutouts this past weekend, and she improved her overall record to 12-5. She recorded fifteen strikeouts and allowed only four hits over the two games that she won. Her overall ERA is 0.34.

Another senior, Rylee Pierce, was a big offensive contributor for the Wildcats last weekend, and she started off the scoring rally in game three. She hit her third home run of the season in this game, as well as an RBI single earlier in the game.

Junior catcher Dejah Mulipola is tearing up the field from the batter’s box where, last week, she recorded a home run and a double in key places in the Wildcat victories.

 

Game Notes

Game one of the three-game series will take place on Friday, April 5 at 6 p.m. in the Dumke Family Softball Complex.

c.overfield@dailyutahchronicle.com

@CaseyOverfield

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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