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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Softball

By Tom Quinn

Any number of tired sports clichs could be used to describe the Utah softball team’s up-and-down, but ultimately successful, performance at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz., last weekend.

Considering the Utes’ slow start and phenomenal finish, some fans might be tempted to assume that all’s well that ends well. The team’s stunning upset of archrival Texas, the team that eliminated the Utes from last spring’s NCAAs, lends itself well to the adage that revenge is a dish best served cold.

Although the Utes may have had the last laugh last weekend, their performance over the course of the tournament ran the entire gamut from dynamite to dismal. From the opening pitch in Friday’s game against Stanford to the strike that finally put away the No. 17 Longhorns, fans saw both the best and worst of Utah softball.

The Utes, for example, showed just how good they can be in Sunday’s 10-inning, 5-4 win over Texas. They started fast, kept the Longhorn sluggers in-check and seemed to be at their best whenever the pressure was on.

“We definitely came into today’s game with energy and focus,” U head coach Angie Jacobs said. “We felt we had unfinished business with Texas, and it took a total team effort for us to beat them. We couldn’t be more proud of how this team performed when the odds were stacked against it.”

Unfortunately for the fans who made the trip, not all of the Utes’ games were quite as memorable as their win over the Longhorns. At times, the team’s energy and focus weren’t readily apparent, and the individual heroics that put Texas away were nowhere to be found.

In Saturday’s 10-3 loss to Texas A&M, for example, the Utes’ eight errors led to nine Aggie runs. Utah trailed from the get-go and found itself down 5-0 before the average fan could even finish a hot dog.

To Utah’s credit, the team as a whole never gave up and even cut the Aggies’ lead to two with Kara Foster’s three-run homer in the third inning. But the error-prone Utes couldn’t complete their comeback and handed A&M five more runs before the game’s end.

“We started the night out tentative,” Jacobs said. “We faced an A&M team that was aggressive, powerful and speedy, and they caught us on our heels. We had a lot of errors, but that happens sometimes this early in the season.”

The Utes played three other games in Tempe, all of which fell somewhere between the flawless effort that downed Texas and the futile performance that gave A&M their biggest win of the tournament.

Jacobs’ charges played well in a 5-2 loss to No. 8 Stanford and put together their best offensive performance of the weekend in a 10-6 win over Nevada. The Utes ended their showdown with Cal State Northridge in a 5-5 tie, but would have won had they not spotted Cal State a five-run lead in the game’s early innings.

“We had a good finish to this tournament,” Jacobs said. “It gives us good momentum heading into the tournament in Las Vegas next weekend.”

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