Home away from home

By By Tom Quinn

By Tom Quinn

The U softball team’s much-anticipated home schedule got off to an inauspicious start last weekend as the Utes absorbed a pair of discouraging losses at the hands of the rival BYU Cougars.

The Utes, who have dealt with issues of inconsistency since the beginning of the season, saw their familiar demons of offensive ineptitude and error-prone fielding pop up again and again, making their defeat at the hands of the Cougars a forgone conclusion.

“Our players didn’t make the necessary adjustments that we needed to make at the plate this afternoon,” said U head coach Angie Jacobs. “Our players know how to adjust at the plate. They just weren’t doing it.”

In their first showdown with the Cougars, the Utes could only watch as BYU’s sluggers hit four home runs en route to a 6-0 win. Two of the round-trippers came courtesy of senior Jodi Norton, while the rest of the team combined for nine hits and five earned runs.

“The key to pitching is to hit all of your spots,” Jacobs said. “When you face a good hitting team, it’s very important to hit all of your spots. When you don’t hit them against a team like BYU, they will definitely take advantage of it.”

The Utes, meanwhile, could manage only three hits off BYU hurler Christie Zinanti, making her look like the second coming of former USA National Team pitcher Jennie Finch. All three hits came from different batters.

Saturday’s rematch was more of the same. BYU’s sluggers picked up where they left off on Friday afternoon, adding 12 hits and three more homers to their already impressive weekend totals en route to an 11-2 win.

BYU’s Courtney Clark got the Cougars off on the right foot in the first inning when she sent Meghan Dyer’s opening pitch over the fence for a home run and a 1-0 lead. Norton followed suit shortly after with her own round-tripper, giving the Cougars a 2-0 lead at the end of the first.

Although the Utes tallied eight hits off of BYU hurler Christina Gwyn, they netted only two runs all afternoon. Both Diana Phillips and Hailey Davenport led the team with 2-4 efforts at the plate, and Davenport’s solo homer in the fifth inning gave Utah its biggest offensive play of the game.

Little-used relief pitcher Haili Squire took over for Dyer after the fifth, surrendering five hits and six runs, only two of which were earned.

“When you’re not crisp in the field, it’s tough to win,” Jacobs said. “And we were not crisp in the field today.”

The Utes have a few days to lick their wounds before returning to action next weekend. Utah’s home schedule continues with a doubleheader against New Mexico and a pair of single games against the Rams of Colorado State.