Softball: Utes stay above .500 with split

By Jason Peterson

Over the weekend, Utah’s softball team continued this season’s trend of winning some and losing some.

Fresh off of splitting a pair against Colorado State last Thursday, Utah yielded a win to New Mexico on Friday, 4-2, but earned it back the next day with a 4-3 victory.

Although the Utes (19-18, 2-2 MWC) have had multiple chances to pad their record during their current five-game home stand, the club has remained above .500 all season despite one of the toughest schedules in the league.

However, Saturday’s win could just as easily have gone the other way if the Utes hadn’t finally put an end to a stubborn New Mexico squad that nearly pulled off a comeback upset in the final inning.

“It was a little nerve-wracking at the end,” said infielder Staci Hemingway, who recorded three of Utah’s four RBIs Saturday. “But overall, we did a great job.”

Utah owned a 4-0 advantage going into the seventh inning and needed just three outs — which had been coming easily to freshman pitcher Brittany Parker all afternoon — to close out the game.

But four errors and a wild pitch allowed the Lobos to tally three quick runs. With two on base and New Mexico’s Lindsey Elcess at the plate with two outs and two strikes against her, Parker threw what was an apparent strike that was called high.

After a spat between Utah coach Amy Hogue and the umpire amid relentless boos from the crowd, Elcess fouled out on the next pitch and Utah escaped with the win.

“That was a strike all day, but that was the call,” Hemingway said. “It still looked good from where I was standing.”

Parker had a shutout in the making through the first six innings by allowing just five hits. She finished with four strikeouts and six hits on the game.

“(Parker) was amazing,” Hemingway said. “It was great that she got the win under pressure. Props to her.”

The Utes also couldn’t have done it without Hemingway, who broke a 0-0 tie with a single in the fifth inning that brought home Kristie Keller. Hemingway had hit four foul balls in a row before the hit.

“It worked for me to foul a few off and start getting a feel for the pitches,” she said. “I was just thinking I had to step back and wait. I was expecting a changeup, but my teammates helped me out and told me what was coming.”

Angie Boardman hit another single and brought Hemingway home a few moments later.

Hemingway attacked again in the sixth with another two RBIs off a single to left field. Keller and Sharee Fonoti scored the Utes’ final two runs.

“I wasn’t surprised (to pull of the win),” Hemingway said. “After those errors, we got a little nervous, but I had faith we would get it done.”

Utah faces UVSC today at 4 p.m. in a game that was postponed from March 30.

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