Different weekend, same results

Just as they did last week, the U softball team split another conference series, this time with rival BYU.

Before the team went to Provo to compete in one of the most pivotal series of the season, Utah took care of business at Ute Field against Southern Utah.

Even though the rain slowed down play Friday in the matchup with Southern Utah, the Ute bats struck like thunder. The main strike was by Glennis Donnelly, who launched a grand slam. Utah took an 8-1 lead into the seventh, when Ute pitcher Samantha Schroeder gave up a home run. But she finished the game and Utes went into the weekend with an 8-3 victory.

Ute coach Mona Stevens was adamant about the reasoning that quieting the BYU bats would be the key to winning the series.

But in the third inning of the first game of the series, the BYU bats struck hard and scored five runs on Ute pitcher Brianna Gourdin.

Gourdin would recover and not allow another run for the rest of the game, but the Ute bats could not even things up. Even though the Utes chipped away at the lead and got it down to a one-run deficit, the seventh inning was a disaster.

Donnelly led off the inning with a single and was moved over after a sacrifice bunt.

But Donnelly was not paying attention and was picked off second base and the Utes lost their chance to tie the game. BYU won, 5-4.

The lack of focus hurt the Utes, but it happened again in the second game.

Just as the Cougars jumped on the Utes early in the first game, the Utes did the same in the second.

Utah used a six-run second inning to propel them toward their third conference win of the year.

Melissa Oakes started the game on the mound for the Utes, but she didn’t last long after the Cougars started to chip away at the lead.

After giving up five runs, three of which were earned, the Utes turned back to Gourdin, who won her 10th game of the season.

It wasn’t easy for Gourdin, however, as the Cougars were only down by two runs in the bottom of the seventh. After scoring one run, the Cougars only needed one more to tie the game, and they still had two runners on base.

But Gourdin would not stand down and she struck out the last batter to win the game, 9-8.

The Utes are now third in the conference race, since both San Diego State and New Mexico swept both the teams they faced over the weekend.

But Utah will have a chance to pad their record over the weekend as they face one of the worst teams in the conference in New Mexico.

The series will take place in Albuquerque with a doubleheader on Friday.

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