Swingin’ in the rain: U softball endures another nasty weekend

Hellish weather has made playing softball in western America almost impossible of late.

Yet more storm clouds followed the U to San Diego this weekend at the Campbell/Cartier tournament. The Utes weren’t singing, but swinging, in the rain. And missing.

The Utes opened play on a gloomy Thursday afternoon by getting the no-hit treatment from Fresno State’s Jamie Southern in a 5-0 loss.

Southern only missed out on a perfect game because Utah’s Diana Phillips reached on an error in the fourth inning.

She struck out 14 and scored a run herself in the sixth inning, capping a remarkable day for the Fresno State hurler.

Samantha Schroeder (0-1) took the loss for the Utes, allowing three runs on three hits in 4-1/3rd innings before Lindsie Nielsen came on in relief, to no avail.

Friday brought more rain, and the Utes were barely able to squeeze in a six-inning affair against Notre Dame in the afternoon.

Hitting didn’t get any easier for the Utes against the Fighting Irish’s Steffany Steinglein, who blanked the U through 5-1/3rd innings and struck out 10 in a 3-2 Irish win.

Ivette Hernandez had a two-run shot in the top of the sixth to bring the deficit down to one, but rally hopes ended when play was halted in the seventh. Brianna Gourdin took the loss, surrendering eight hits.

Late innings didn’t treat the Utes any easier in a crushing 3-2 extra innings loss to Santa Clara later that night.

According to tournament rules, teams begin extra inning play with a runner on second base to speed up results.

The U squandered a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the seventh before allowing the game-winning run in the bottom of the eighth on a suicide squeeze, after bunting their automatic runner over to third with no outs.

Nielsen (3-2) got stuck with the loss despite limiting the Broncos to just five hits and one walk in over seven innings of work. Hernandez homered again, raising her season total to five.

The remainder of play was cancelled for the Utes, who return to action next weekend in Palm Springs, Calif., at the Oregon State Classic.

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