Utes Carry Momentum Into Final Home Series

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Utes Carry Momentum Into Final Home Series

The University of Utah Softball infielders huddle up prior to the start of the game in an NCAA Softball game vs. Arizona at Dumke Family Softball Field in Salt Lake City, UT on Saturday April 06, 2019.

(Photo by Curtis Lin | Daily Utah Chronicle)

The University of Utah Softball infielders huddle up prior to the start of the game in an NCAA Softball game vs. Arizona at Dumke Family Softball Field in Salt Lake City, UT on Saturday April 06, 2019. (Photo by Curtis Lin | Daily Utah Chronicle)

Curtis Lin

The University of Utah Softball infielders huddle up prior to the start of the game in an NCAA Softball game vs. Arizona at Dumke Family Softball Field in Salt Lake City, UT on Saturday April 06, 2019. (Photo by Curtis Lin | Daily Utah Chronicle)

Curtis Lin

Curtis Lin

The University of Utah Softball infielders huddle up prior to the start of the game in an NCAA Softball game vs. Arizona at Dumke Family Softball Field in Salt Lake City, UT on Saturday April 06, 2019. (Photo by Curtis Lin | Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Casey Overfield

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The University of Utah (16-32 overall, 4-14 conference) softball team is heading into their final home series of the season as they host the University of Oregon (21-25 overall, 4-14 conference) for three games.

 

Scouting the Utes

Utah is currently sitting in the eighth spot in the conference, only ahead of UC Berkeley. The team fell in the standings after the series last week.

The Utes just came off of a thrilling victory against their rivals, Brigham Young University. An 11-2 win was solidified thanks to some solid relief pitching from Sydney Sandez, who pitched five innings with no runs scored.  

Senior Ally Dickman took full advantage of her final rivalry game and she went 5-5 in the box. She helped with six of the runs for the team. The first inning was full of strong hitting as both Dickman and Alyssa Barrera sent the ball over the fence for a combined three runs.

Most recently in Pac-12 play, the Utes fell in three games to UCLA. Utah managed only 11 hits in three games and they scored only once.

 

Scouting the Ducks

Oregon is the seventh-seeded Pac-12 team, and they are one spot ahead of the Utes and two ahead of the California Golden Bears.

Most recently, Oregon dropped a three-game series to Oregon State in which they were beaten 28-14 overall. The Ducks held the lead for only two innings of the series, and they managed only 21 hits compared to 31 by the Beavers.

Oregon has been the victor in the last six meetings between these two teams, and they are the overall winners with a record of 24-2.

 

Utes to Watch For

Barrera is leading the team in batting average with .370. She remains in the lead for the conference with six triples, and she is ranked seventh nationally. In her three years as a Ute, Barrera has started in every game, for a grand total of 150 games. She is fourth on the team with four home runs, one of which she collected against BYU. Barrera has also been holding it down in the outfield with a number of key catches for the Utes this season.

Dickman had a big game against BYU as she went 5-5 with a key home run to start the game off. This was her team leading eighth home run of the year, and she is second on the team with a .363 batting average.

Senior Hailey Hilburn is seeing a lot of success both from the mound and the box. She is second on the team with seven home runs and her .286 batting average is fourth on the team. As a pitcher, Hilburn has a 6.59 ERA and she has struck out a team leading 41 batters in 79.2 innings.

 

Ducks to Watch For

Haley Cruse, a junior outfielder for the Ducks, stepped forward during a recent non-conference game against Portland State. She hit a three-run inside the park home run to solidify their victory, and she is a fast and consistent hitter for the team.

The sophomore transfer pitcher Jordan Dail came to Oregon from Virginia Tech. She is currently leading the Pac-12 in innings pitched with 213.2, and she is second in the league with 217 strikeouts as well as 14th in the NCAA for this statistic. Dail has thrown 19 complete games and five shutouts this season and she leads the conference in starts with 33 and appearances with 39. She is 17-13 on the season with a 3.83 ERA.

Jasmine Sievers is a freshman who is impacting the team in big ways from box. She is leading the team in slugging with a .574. She has 14 doubles as well as 19 extra base hits. A highlight of her season so far was going 4-4 against UCLA’s stud pitcher Rachel Garcia during a series where Oregon handed UCLA their first and only conference loss so far.

 

Game Notes

Game 1 is set to begin on Friday, May 3 at 6 p.m., and it will be followed by a 12 p.m. Saturday game and senior day will take place on Sunday at 1 p.m at the Dumke Family Softball Complex.

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@CaseyOverfield