Slumping softball: U looks to rebound against UVSC

The Utes (9-16) head to Orem today to face Utah Valley State at 3 p.m.

After dropping two to Brigham Young and losing 16 of their last 21 games, the U softball squad will try to pick up some positive momentum with a win over the Wolverines-a team the Utes have already routed twice by a combined score of 19-3.

With 23 of their 25 games coming on the road, the Utes have been hampered by constant weather delays and cancellations. The young team has suffered from repeated mental lapses, allowing costly errors and struggling against top-tier pitching.

Junior pitcher Brianna Gourdin has gone 6-7 despite a sterling 2.56 ERA (which rose considerably after she allowed 13 earned runs against the Cougars). With 11 complete games in 12 starts, the rubber-armed hurler has been let down by a sputtering offense. In a 9-5 loss to Wisconsin, she went all seven innings without allowing a single earned run.

Sophomore utility player Devina Quintero has been both a problem and a solution for Gourdin and the Utes. Her 14 errors lead the team, as does her .354 clip at the plate.

Versatile senior catcher Bryanne Durrence is second on the team with a .299 batting average and leads the squad with eight steals in only nine attempts.

Junior infielder Ivette Hernandez has accounted for most of the U’s pop, tallying six home runs and 17 RBIs.

The Utes are only hitting .234 overall, however. They have scored two or fewer runs in 15 games, 13 of which they lost.

Conference play resumes this weekend when the U hits the road again for doubleheaders at San Diego State on Saturday and at UNLV on Sunday.

The Utes are the defending Mountain West Conference Tournament champions, and they will try to defend their title on their third trip to San Diego this season, beginning May 12.

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