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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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Utes slug their way to three tourney wins

By Tom Quinn

All’s well that ends well–at least as far as the Utah softball team is concerned. After a rough start to the USF Louisville Slugger Tournament, the Utes rebounded to win their final three games, defeating New Mexico State on Friday and both Maryland and Central Michigan on Sunday.

“We’re feeling really good; we’re seeing the ball big and we’re playing really well together,” said head coach Angie Jacobs of the team’s performance. “We are definitely a better team today than we were on the first day of the season.”

In spite of their obvious improvement, the Utes looked lost on Friday morning as they dropped a 9-1 decision to Southeast Conference power Auburn in their first game of the tournament. The error-prone Utes allowed four unearned runs in the first inning, digging a hole out of which they would never climb. Pitcher Karina Cannon–who allowed eight hits and five earned runs in an uncharacteristically inefficient performance from the mound–tallied the Utes’ lone RBI of the game on a single that scored Kara Foster in the fourth inning.

“We struggled at the plate and we struggled with making the in-game adjustments,” Jacobs said. “I think that Auburn got to us and we started to make some mental errors in the field that this team typically doesn’t make.”

The Utes bounced back nicely from their sub-par showing against Auburn with an 8-0 shellacking of New Mexico State on Friday night. Pitcher Meghan Dyer turned in one of her best performances of 2007, striking out 10 Aggies and ?allowing only one hit in five innings on the mound.

Fabulous freshman Foster gave the Utes all the offense they needed, going 4-for-4 at the plate with three RBI and two runs scored. Foster got Utah on the board early with a three-run homer in the first inning.

“We rebounded well from the game we played earlier in the afternoon,” Jacobs said. “We were able to string back-to-back hits together in multiple innings and I feel that’s something we haven’t done very well in the past.”

Although Saturday’s games were rained out, Utah managed to carry Friday night’s momentum over into Sunday’s first contest, an 8-1 walloping of Maryland.

Led by Dyer, who struck out 11 batters, the Utes put together their most complete game to this point in the season. The offense complemented Dyer’s impressive showing by chipping in 13 hits, three of which came off Hailey Davenport’s bat.

The Utes’ final game of the tournament, a Sunday afternoon showdown with Central Michigan, was also its most exciting. While Utah’s three other contests were over almost before they began, the win over the Chippewas was an intense defensive struggle that could have gone the other way were it not ?for Foster’s late-game heroics.

With the game tied at one in the seventh, it was Foster’s double that drove in both Kelly Matthews and Andrea Hoffman, giving the Utes a two-run lead with only three outs remaining in the game. Thanks to Cannon’s perfect pitching, Utah held on to win its third straight.

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