Utah hopes for boost from non-MWC games

By Paige Fieldsted, Staff Writer

The Utah softball team needs a boost.

After losing four of their past five games by a combined score of 47-9, the Utes need something to help them get back on track.

With a pair of non-conference double-headers this week, the Utes are hoping to use the games against Utah Valley and Southern Utah University to give them the boost they need.

“We’re hoping to get a little stress off our back, when we get into conference things get really extreme and stressful,” said assistant coach Adrian Gregory. “We want to use these games to help us to get out and play loose and get back to feeling our groove and feeling what it’s like to play our game; we want to get on a roll.”

In the most recent losses against BYU and San Diego State, the Utes struggled on the mound and in the box, as they got shut out in three of the four games and scored only two runs in the other.

Utah is looking to use the low-pressure, nonconference games to try some different things in hopes of improving pitching and hitting.

“I think we are trying to go back to the simple things of this game,” Gregory said. “We want the players to remember that if we can control those little things, like hitting our spot from the mound and picking the right pitch to hit, it will help us control the big things that win games.”

Changing players’ mentality will be a big part of bringing back the Utah team that began the season with a 7-3 record.

The Utes have struggled this season by allowing their opponents to score first as they have a 3-20 record when that happens8212;a problem that can be attributed to lack of mental toughness.

“We’ve talked about them fighting and competing with every pitch and every at bat no matter what happens on the scoreboard,” Gregory said. “Right now we get beat down quickly and we give up quickly, we just have to learn to compete no matter what the scoreboard says.”

Utah has done well when facing in-state opponents so far this season, with the exception of BYU, as they have beaten Utah State four times and UVU once.

Part of the Utes’ success against those teams can be attributed to not having the pressure of needing to win that is experienced in conference games.

“When you play in-state rivals and you play teams you want to beat pretty badly, it’s just fun,” Gregory said. “You don’t feel like you are playing for your future, when a lot of conference games you do. It’s just to let loose and not feeling the pressure to win.”

Utah scheduled the nonconference games midway through its conference season in order to give the players a break from the pressure of conference, a break that couldn’t have come at a better time.

“We planned it this way, we wanted to fill the off-week with some nonconference games so we could get some momentum going into the end of conference and end on a high note,” Gregory said.

Utah will face Utah Valley in Orem, in a doubleheader today starting at 2:30 p.m. before traveling to Cedar City, to take on Southern Utah in a doubleheader that begins Wednesday at 1 p.m.

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Tyler Cobb

After losing four of their last five games, the Ute Softball team is hoping that victories in their upcoming non-conference games against UVU and SUU will give them a needed boost.