Team splits doubleheader against UVU

By Paige Fieldsted, Staff Writer

The Utah women’s softball team seemed to have improved its all-around game from last week as they split a doubleheader with Utah Valley University on Tuesday.

Despite picking up a win on the day, the coaching staff wasn’t pleased with the Utes’ overall performance.

“We’re not competing8212;that is just plain and simple,” said head coach Amy Hogue. “We are playing to the level of the teams that we are playing and not playing to the level we are capable of.”

Timely hitting late in the game earned the Utes a 4-2 win in the first game of the doubleheader against the Wolverines.

A big sixth inning that included a home run from second baseman Jacey Jensen and a triple by Tori Media gave the Utes the boost they needed to beat Utah Valley.

After struggling in the box during the past two games and getting shut out by San Diego State twice, the Utes performed better at the plate, earning their four runs on five hits.

“I still expected them to hit better,” Hogue said. “Pitching is not their strength; defense is their strength, and we just did an average job hitting.”

Although the Utes collected fewer hits than the Wolverines8212;who earned seven hits8212;UVU’s inability to score runners once on base cost them the game, as they left nine players on base.

In the second game of the doubleheader, the roles were switched, as it was Utah that was unable to score once on base as it left 10 players stranded in the two-run loss, 6-4.

Despite earning her 50th home run of her career and taking sole possession of the all-time home run record, Kara Foster was unable to lead the Utes to victory in the second game of the doubleheader.

“Kara was still upset after that game because she cares about the Utes and her team and winning, not about herself,” Hogue said. “It was still a disappointing day for her because she’s not out for the personal accolades; she’s out to win.”

The Wolverines jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the second inning after an error and a sacrifice bunt in combination with UVU’s three hits brought three runners home.

The Utes battled back in the second inning behind Foster’s home run and singles by two other Utes.

Utah took the lead in the top of the fifth inning, as five hits resulted in two runs scored, but the lead wouldn’t last long as a walk and another error allowed two more Wolverine players to score before the inning was over.

A homer in the bottom of the sixth sealed the game for the Wolverines as Utah was unable to generate any more offense in the final innings of the game.

“We have no intensity and we are doing the little things poorly, like laying down bunts and running the bases,” Hogue said. “We are doing a poor job with the basics of the game.”

All four Utah pitchers saw action in the doubleheader but didn’t improve much from last week as they gave up 16 hits and eight runs on the day.

In the first game, Ashley Smuda gave up seven hits but struck out three and only walked two, while relief pitcher Brittney Parker gave up no hits and only two walks in the inning she pitched.

In the second game pitchers Joni Cook and Lindsey Palmer walked only three batters while giving up nine hits.

“I don’t know if I have a healthy pitcher right now,” Hogue said. “Smuda is the only one that is full strength and she can’t carry us through the rest of the season. We’re hurt and we are struggling surviving.”

The Utes will look to pick up some more wins and hopefully some more insensity with another non-conference double-header today against Southern Utah beginning at 1 p.m. before facing BYU on Saturday.

“We need to play this game with respect with a level of intensity that allows us to have success,” Hogue said. “They are going to have to change their tone or they are going to keep being a very very average team.”

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Tyler Cobb

The U softball team split its non-conference doubleheader with UVU last night, losing the first game 6-4 but beating the Wolverines 4-2 in the second game.