Utes struggle at the plate, go 2-3 at So-Cal Collegiate Classic

Utah finally got its long-awaited chance to get back out on the diamond last weekend when it played in the So-Cal Collegiate Classic Tournament, but the Utes registered an underwhelming record of 2-3 throughout the weekend. However, two of those losses came at the hands of two highly-ranked teams in Texas A&M and Notre Dame.

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Both of the Utes’ wins came in their last two games when they defeated Idaho State 2-0, and then topped Long Beach State 5-3 after losing to the 49ers the day earlier.

The big story of the first four games was the lack of success the team was having at the plate. Utah could only score a mere 5 runs in those contests. This lack of production could be attributed to early-season rust, but that’s not good enough of an excuse for Ute head coach Amy Hogue.

“There was a lot of disappointment in the hitting,” Hogue said following the first games. “It’s been difficult to try and diagnose what’s going on.”

By the end of the tournament, Utah was finally able to break through and answer the call from its coach.

Despite the rough start from the plate, the pitching performances of freshmen Katie Donovan and Miranda Viramontes proved to be very successful.

Coming into the weekend. it was unknown how soon these two would pitch and how much of a role they would play. That unknown was quickly realized, as they were the only Utes to see the mound during the first two days of the tournament.

When asked if she had expected to use the two freshmen this much in the tournament, Hogue responded “Absolutely not.”

Even though it wasn’t what the Utes were expecting to do on the mound, it showcased the talent that this team has on the bump. Hogue was pleased with the performances and knew it could’ve led to a few more wins if not for the poor hitting.

“It’s disappointing we weren’t able to give them the run support,” Hogue said.

The futures of Donovan and Viramontes appear to be very bright, even though the team was only able to win one of the games they pitched in.

Donovan showcased her brightness in the Utes’ win over Idaho State. She pitched a complete game shutout and was just one out away from pitching her first collegiate no-hitter. Though she was close to achieving a personal accomplishment, she has the team vision at the forefront of her mind.

“I’m just happy we got the win, and that’s what matters,” Donovan said.

Donovan pitched 17.2 innings in four games and has an early-season Earned Run Average (ERA) of 1.19.

“I felt like I was pitching well and I was comfortable with the team behind me,” she said.

In their final game, the Utes avenged their earlier loss against Long Beach State by defeating it 5-3. Utah’s bats finally arrived and the players on the team corrected whatever they were or weren’t doing at the plate.

Utah chalked up double-digit team hits for the first time this season against the 49ers. Additionally, the Utes also got their first home run of 2015 that came off the bat of first baseman Bridget Castro.

Marissa Mendenhall recorded two hits and two RBI’s, while fellow seniors Dickman and Maddy Woodard also had two hits apiece. Dickman picked up her hitting success right where she left it off last year, seeing the ball well the entire tournament going 7-for-14 over the five games.

“Kate was phenomenal,” Hogue said of her performance.

Utah will head to Nevada next weekend for the UNLV Wilson/DeMarini Classic.

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