Split decision

By By Tom Quinn

By Tom Quinn

Over the course of a pair of games against the Colorado State Rams, the fans at Ute Field saw both the best and the worst of the U softball team.

The Utes went 1-1 against the visiting Rams, snapping a four-game losing streak with an 8-4 win on Friday before giving up 20 runs en route to their worst loss of the season on Saturday afternoon.

“We looked good on Friday, but things got a little ugly on Saturday,” said senior pitcher Meghan Dyer. “I think the most important thing right now is for us to try and stay positive.”

The two-game series started off well enough for the Utes, who put together their best offensive showing of the conference season. Led by sophomore slugger Hailey Davenport, who chipped in with a three-run homer in the bottom of the second inning, the Utes built an impressive 8-1 lead before letting the Rams score a handful of perfunctory runs in the final frame.

“I think we came out with more enthusiasm and energy than Colorado State did this afternoon,” said U head coach Angie Jacobs. “We out-matched them in those areas and we were able to take advantage of it and get a victory here today.”

Players and fans alike were excited to see the Utes’ offense firing on all cylinders for the first time since Spring Break. During the month of April, Utah has been averaging just over one run per game, a far cry from the success the team enjoyed at the plate during the preseason.

“Every team has its ups and downs,” Dyer said. “The hardest thing is just not getting down on yourself.”

The Utes’ energy and enthusiasm was short-lived, however, as the Rams gave Utah its comeuppance and then some on the following day. Regardless of whether the culprit was bad luck, bad karma or bad sushi, the Utes could not catch a break on Saturday. All nine starters went from dominant to disgraceful literally overnight.

The visiting Rams scored a mind-boggling 20 runs in the game’s final four innings, handing the Utes one of their worst losses in recent memory. Utah helped CSU considerably by committing five costly errors during the Rams’ scoring spree.

Even Dyer, who presently leads the Mountain West in both strikeouts and ERA, had an off-day against CSU, allowing seven hits and eight earned runs in just over three innings of work in the circle.

Davenport once again led Utah’s offense against the Rams; she went 3-for-3 at the plate with a solo home run in the second. Kara Foster and Staci Hemmingway also looked good at the plate, contributing two RBI apiece.

Although the bitter aftertaste of Saturday’s loss will likely linger in the Utes’ collective mouth for quite some time, the team as a whole is already trying to focus on Wednesday’s non-conference showdown with Utah State.

“There’s no time for sulking,” Dyer said. “We need to get ready for Wednesday.”

Lisa Teran

Utah catcher Andrea Hoffman is smashed by CSU’s Lauren Cusick as the Utes lost 20-5 on Saturday at Ute Field.