Softball Sweeps Past UNLV, Ends League Season

Traci Keller hit her first career home run for the U softball team, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Trailing 5-4 in the second game of a marathon doubleheader against UNLV, Keller got up to bat in the bottom of the 10th inning. Keller’s solo shot tied the score and kept Utah in the game.

“I hadn’t been hitting the ball well all day,” Keller said. “I made some adjustments and scooted up in the box and just hit the ball hard.”

Keller also scored the game winning run in the first game when Lyndsey Trevis singled up the left side.

In the bottom of the 11th of the second game, Niki Hayhurst hit a sacrifice fly ball that scored Masie Ota, to give the Utes the 6-5 win over their Mountain West Conference foe.

The Utes also needed a come-from-behind win in the first game, trailing 10-8 in the bottom of the seventh inning. That ended when Trevis scored Keller on the single.

In all, the Utes and Rebels battled it out for more than seven hours.

Both games saw the Utes jump out to early leads, but allow UNLV to come back.

In the first game, Utah led 6 0, before UNLV scored four runs in the fifth inning, five more in the sixth, and took an 10-8 lead to the bottom of the seventh. Utah was forced to come from behind.

In Game 2, Utah enjoyed a 4-1 lead in the seventh inning, but UNLV pitcher Geney Orris hit a three-run home run to tie the score on a pitch that U coach Mona Stevens said “got away” from U pitcher Jennifer Pursell.

Orris hit another solo home run in the top of the 10th, and the Utes were troubled, before “Ms. April,” Keller, stepped up and tied the game. The rest is history.

“When they went up on us, I thought, ‘Oh man, that’s going to be tough to come back,'” Stevens said. “If there was a Ms. October, for Keller, it would be right now.”

The Utes are now 22-31 and tied with San Diego State for the lead in the conference standings with a 9-3 record. The Utes’ doubleheader against SDSU was canceled because of snow on Saturday and will not be made up.

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