Hit or miss

By By Tom Quinn

By Tom Quinn

Look up the word “inconsistent” in the dictionary, and you could very well find a picture of the U softball team.

Over the course of their final non-conference road trip, the Utes’ play ranged from perfect to pathetic and from dominant to disgraceful as the team went 2-2 in last weekend’s Nevada Invitational. First came the bad. The Utes extended their losing streak to four games with a 6-1 shellacking at the hands of Nevada on the first day of the tournament. The Wolfpack scored early and often, burning senior hurler Karina Cannon to the tune of 10 hits and five runs in six innings of play.

Utah would have been shut out completely were it not for the heroics of freshman Kara Foster, whose solo homer in the fourth put the Utes on the board.

“We did not come prepared to play today on either side of the ball,” said head coach Angie Jacobs. “We were unable to make adjustments at the plate and we didn’t play well defensively. We kicked the ball around and threw it all over the place.”

The Utes looked like a completely different team the next morning as they walked all over Saint Mary’s en route to a 12-4 win. Utah’s sluggers, who could hardly buy a run against Nevada the previous day, scored in all six innings including a four-run effort in the fourth that all but guaranteed the win.

Cannon also redeemed herself against the Gaels, striking out five batters and allowing just three hits.

Unfortunately for the Utes, their early-morning swagger didn’t carry over into their rematch with Nevada, which was held later the same day. The Wolfpack once again befuddled Utah’s sluggers as the pack cruised to a 5-0 victory.

Senior hurler Meghan Dyer held Nevada scoreless for the first three innings, but the Utah defense bent in the fourth and finally broke in the sixth, allowing five runs, several of which were the direct results of errors.

Although the Utes missed their chance to even the score with Nevada, an 11-0 thrashing of Saint Mary’s on the final day of the tournament allowed them to end the trip, and their non-conference schedule, on a high note.

Freshman Tori Medina got the ball rolling early with a grand slam at the top of the first. Medina’s time in the limelight, however, didn’t last long, as fellow freshman Foster hit a grand slam of her own in the fifth, ending the Utes’ scoring for the day.

Dyer got the start in the circle, striking out seven batters and allowing only one hit in three innings of play.

In spite of the team’s two losses, the Utah brass was all smiles following the conclusion of the tournament. With the non-conference slate finally in the books, both coaches and players can hardly wait to get the conference schedule started.

“I think that the team is leaving today’s game with a good feeling, offensively,” Jacobs said. “I think that we did well this weekend and I’m glad that the team will enter conference play next weekend on a positive note.”