Castro’s blast helps Utes record 5-1 record at UNLV Classic

The Utes had a successful trip to Vegas over the weekend, hitting and pitching the ball well on their way to 5-1 weekend record at the UNLV Wilson/DeMarini Classic.


The Utes first bested Long Beach State 7-5 in nine innings, and followed that up with a 3-1 victory over Seattle on their first day of play. The Utes finished up their last three games with victories, with two of those games shortened due to Utah winning by the run rule, beating Cal State Northridge 8-0, Nevada 6-2, and UNLV 10-2.

Utah’s lone loss came at the hands of No. 25 Cal State Fullerton on Saturday. They played a hard-fought game against the aforementioned CSU-Fullerton team and even had a lead over the 25th-ranked Titans early on. Ute Pitcher Miranda Viramontes held the Titans hitless through the first two innings before giving up a hit and eventually losing the game 4-3.

In a big contrast from last tournament, the Utes hit the ball consistently well all weekend. They tallied up a season-high in team hits with 11 against Nevada.

Utah then followed that performance up with another 11-hit showcase against the Rebels. Those 11 hits contributed it to the team’s first double-digit runs scored in a game this season with 10.

“Wins-wise, yeah it was a better weekend,” Utah head coach Amy Hogue said.

In their final three games in Vegas, the Utes had 32 hits. Hitting appeared to be a concern early on, but Hogue was never too worried about the team’s abilitiy to get the bat on the ball.

“We faced some really good competition last weekend,” coach Hogue said.

The most exciting game of the weekend was the matchup with Long Beach State. This was the third time these two teams have met this season and so they have become very familiar with each other.

The Utes trailed 4-3 in the top of the sixth inning and only needed a run to tie things up, which they did in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings.

When games go into extra innings in collegiate softball, the NCAA uses the international tie-breaker rule to help decide the games, meaning that each team starts with a runner on second base to begin their inning.

After both teams failed to score a run in the eighth inning, the 49ers and Utes headed to a ninth. Long Beach State scored to take a 5-4 lead and the Utah’s batters were forced to either step up to the plate or crumble under the pressure.

Hannah Flippen started the inning on base for Utah. Dickman grounded out in the first at bat, but it allowed Flippen to reach third base. On the next at-bat, shortstop Anissa Urtez reached first base on an error and just like that, there were runners at the corners for the Utes with Bridget Castro stepping up to the plate.

At this point, it is relevant to go back to the familiarity these two teams have had with each other. The 49ers had their same pitcher, Amanda Hansen, on the mound that had made appearances against Utah in both of their previous matchups.

Hansen delievered a pitch to Castro and she took a big swing, the ball sailed over the fence for a three-run walk-off home run for the Utes.

“Coming up to bat, I kind of knew what pitch was gonna come,” Castro said. “I was just just excited, it was a great feeling.”

The game was a thriller, but it’s not exactly surprising for Hogue.

“It was a really fun game,” coach Hogue said. “It was the type of high-scoring game that we’re more used to … It was good for us to have to go out and win a game with a high number of runs.”

The Utes will next compete this weekend at the Mary Nutter Classic in California.

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