Utes split doubleheader with SUU

By Paige Fieldsted, Staff Writer

For the second day in a row, the Utah women’s softball team split a nonconference doubleheader as it went 1-1 against Southern Utah University.

Despite hitting three home runs and collecting 13 hits, the Utes were unable to hold off the Thunderbirds in the seventh inning and dropped the first game of the doubleheader 8-7.

The game looked to be in Utah’s favor from the beginning as Utah collected four doubles and three home runs, all from different players, in the first three innings, putting the Utes up 5-3.

Two more doubles and a triple in the sixth inning gave Utah a comfortable 7-4 lead going into the bottom of the seventh inning, but SUU was prepared to fight back.

After giving up a triple that scored two runs and allowing a runner to score on a wild pitch, SUU first baseman Shannon Lum hit a walk-off solo home run to seal the game for the Thunderbirds.

“Lindsey (Palmer) was throwing well in the three innings before that, so I was surprised that the game ended the way it did but that’s what has been happening to us,” said head coach Amy Hogue.

Although pitchers Ashley Smuda and Palmer struck out three batters each and only walked two, they gave up a combined seven hits that allowed SUU to score eight runs.

Utah’s heavy hitting continued in the second game of the doubleheader, but this time it resulted in a 12-10 victory for the Utes. Five home runs, including two by right fielder Angie Boardman that drove in five runs, put the Utes’ home run total for the day at eight, the most home runs they’ve hit in a single day all season.

“That’s what we are capable of doing,” Hogue said. “That is why it is so maddening that we have been so inconsistent because this is what we can do.”

SUU took an early lead 4-3 in the first inning after four hits drove in four runs, but a huge five-run fourth inning put the Utes up 10-7.

Utah extended its lead to four as the Utes scored two more runs in the top of the eighth, which was enough to hold off SUU’s seventh- inning run and earn them a two-run victory.

“I’m proud of what we did in game two, coming back and controlling what we can,” Hogue said. “It’s difficult to get that many hits in a game and come away with a loss, but we came back.”

The Utes earned 13 hits and only struck out twice in the game, which is much improved from last week’s performances against San Diego State in which the Utes only earned six hits in both games combined.

“I love that we are having a 26-hit day going into Provo on Saturday,” Hogue said. “You couldn’t ask for anything better.”

Although pitchers Smuda and Joni Cook didn’t walk any Thunderbirds, they gave up 10 runs on 16 hits, so the Utes had to rely on their hitting to get the job done.

“Joni Cook is really the highlight for me, she came in and pitched six innings and gave up only six runs, five of which were unearned,” Hogue said. “She got them to hit it when we wanted them to and our defense didn’t pick it up behind her.”

The Utes will resume conference play Saturday as they take on the BYU Cougars for the third time this season. The first pitch is set for 2 p.m.

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Richard Payson

The Utah softball team split its doubleheader Wednesday against SUU in Cedar City, losing the first game 8-7 and winning the second 12-10.