Softball Takes Three Against League Foes

The U softball team won three of four conference games at Ute Field this past weekend against New Mexico and Colorado State, moving them to 16-30 overall, 5-3 in the MWC this season.

In Game 1 against the Lobos on Friday, a sixth-inning grand slam by New Mexico third baseman Cassie Chavez extinguished the Utes’ 6-3 lead and put the Lobos up for good at 7-6.

Heather Bowlin pitched the entire game for the U and got the loss, putting her at 8-14 on the year.

In the second game of the doubleheader, the Utes got some payback, as U pitcher Jennifer Pursell had a no-hitter going through six innings and ended up pitching a two-hitter on two controversial calls at first base, as both runners appeared to be out, but were called safe.

With the bases loaded and no outs, the Utes used several fielder’s choices to get the three outs and avoid another possible disaster, shutting out the Lobos 3-0.

Pursell, who got the win and moved to 6-15 on the year, said she wanted to help Bowlin after a less-than-superb outing.

“I wanted to pick up Heather,” Pursell said. “She’s picked up my back many times, so I wanted to help her out.”

“We didn’t put a lot of runs on the board in the second game, but Pursell had a great game,” said U coach Mona Stevens.

A fifth-inning two-run home run by Melissa Stahnke, her eighth of the year, gave the Utes two insurance runs.

“Our team’s coming around. Everybody’s hitting, and it feels good,” Stahnke said.

Against Colorado State, the games were just as memorable as in the series with New Mexico, if not more so.

Down 2-1 in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Utes used a barrage of hitting to get runners into scoring position. Center fielder Molly McLean scored the go-ahead run on a single by Masie Ota to end the game with a Ute victory, 3-2.

Bowlin was credited with the win, putting her at 9-14 on the year.

The second game of the doubleheader found the Utes trailing again, 3-0. Two critical errors by third baseman Lyndsey Trevis were cause for all three of the Ram runs.

A sacrifice fly by Ota scored Traci Keller to bring the Utes within two, at 3-1 in the fifth inning.

Then Trevis led off for the U in the sixth inning and took a pitch over the left field fence, moving the Utes within one.

“As soon as I swung, I knew it was going over the fence,” Trevis said. “It was a big confidence booster.”

After Stahnke flied out, first baseman Niki Hayhurst sent one deep over the right field fence, tying the game at 3-3.

“She just threw it right in my zone, so I was like, ‘OK?your mistake,'” Hayhurst said.

“It didn’t surprise me at all,” Stevens said. “That’s kind of what they do.”

Pursell made sure the Rams got no more runs, and the Utes once again went into the bottom of the seventh needing a run.

Keller walked to lead off, then ran from first base to third on a sacrifice bunt by Ota.

“I just saw it open and went for it the whole way,” Keller said.

A wild pitch scored Keller, giving the Utes the series sweep with a 4-3 victory.

“This is mammoth [for our confidence],” Stevens said. “This is beyond huge. Now we’re starting to feel what we know we can do.”

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