Rocky weekend for Ute softball

It was a tale of two teams for Ute softball this weekend.

Pitchers Lindsie Nielsen and Brianna Gourdin each had good days and bad days in a tournament that didn’t play out quite as expected.

Ironically, the first day of the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic was rained out, the schedule was altered, and games against Oregon State and Hawaii were cancelled.

The Utes drew No. 8 Michigan, in a scheduling change that threatened to derail an already difficult weekend.

Unable to top the vaunted Wolverines-falling 7-1-the U salvaged the day with a 9-1 win over Cal Riverside Sunday afternoon, finishing 2-2 in the tournament.

Nielsen got the Utes off to a fantastic start, leading the way on Saturday morning with four strikeouts and no walks in an 8-2 clubbing of the Texas Tech.

Ivette Hernandez torched the Red Raiders for four RBIs, including a 3-run moon shot in the 7th inning.

At the time, the Utes extended their winning streak to four games. Unfortunately, they were quick to form another streak.

Later that evening, the U was tied 1-1 with Wichita State when pitcher Brianna Gourdin finally slipped, allowing runs on a wild pitch and an RBI single with the bases loaded in the 7th.

She finished an overpowering but erratic effort with 9 strikeouts and 6 walks.

Kate Nygaard knocked home the only run for the Utes, who failed to score twice with two runners on and two outs.

On Sunday morning, Nielsen was unable to continue her magical start, and the Ute offense was simply overmatched by Michigan.

Nielsen, in a drastic change of opposition from her days last season at Salt Lake Community College, allowed five runs in four innings, before Samantha Schroeder entered to finish the game.

Michigan’s Nicole Motycka picked up the win, limiting the Utes to five hits. The Ute bats stranded five runners, but it wouldn’t have changed the outcome if they had plated them all.

Gourdin ensured a different outcome against Cal Riverside that afternoon. She tossed a four-hit gem in a 9-1 win that saw the Ute offense spring to life.

Hernandez hit yet another three-run homer and Lynsey Wall added another, as the Utes ran their overall record to 5-2.

Next up on the long road tour for the Utes is the Campbell/Cartier Tournament in San Diego, this weekend.

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