Utah Softball Starts Season With Five Big Wins


University of Utah freshman pitcher Sydney Sandez (1) pitched the ball in an NCAA Softball game vs. Arizona at Dumke Family Softball Field in Salt Lake City on Saturday April 6, 2019.(Photo by Curtis Lin | Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Casey Overfield , Sports Editor


The University of Utah softball team (5-0, 0-0 Pac-12) started off their 2020 season on a high note as they swept all five of their opponents in the Kajikawa Classic this last weekend. The Utes put up 29 total runs and allowed only eight on the weekend. 


Game 1

Utah vs. No. 14 Northwestern, 3-2

Game one of the series started out with Utah trailing their first Top 15 opponent of the season.  No. 14 Northwestern is led by last year’s Freshman of the Year Danielle Williams, who struck out five over 5 ⅓ innings.  

In the sixth inning, the Wildcats were leading the Utes by one run — that is, until sophomore Ellessa Bonstrom came up strong with a three-run home run to end the game.  Bonstrom was a force for the Utes last year, with five home runs and 13 doubles on the season. 

Northwestern made a slight comeback in the bottom of the sixth with one run off of a walk and a single, but a stellar closing inning by pitcher Sydney Sandez solidified the win for the Utes. 


Game 2

Utah vs. Western Michigan, 12-2

In game two of the Classic, Utah went up against Western Michigan and took an early lead with three runs in the second inning, thanks to a single by BreOnna Castaneda and five walks. This was followed by an eight-run third inning. This inning brought five singles and another home run by Bonstrom. 

Western Michigan made a last minute push in the fourth inning with their first hits of the game bringing in two runs, but this was not enough to prevent a mercy rule by the Utes.  

Utah’s last at-bats in the bottom of the fourth saw one run come in off the bat of junior Julia Noskin who singled to bring around pinch-runner A.J. Militello. 


Game 3

Utah vs. Portland State, 4-0

Sandez was the hero on Saturday afternoon as she shut out Portland State for her second win of the season. With 73 pitches thrown in seven innings, Sandez allowed three hits and struck out three. 

Utah waited until the third inning to bring around their first runner in Haley Denning, who scored on a wild throw. One inning later, Utah brought in two runners, one off of a double by Castaneda, and one off of an outfield error. 

Utah’s final run came later in the sixth inning, when Charlee Pond’s first collegiate hit put her on third base and Denning sent her home off of a single. 


Game 4

Utah vs. Kansas, 4-1

The Utes took the lead in the fourth inning, scoring the first run of the game off of a single by Castaneda. Kansas tied up the score one inning later in the bottom of the fifth, but Utah would control the game from that point on. 

The sixth inning brought in one more run with a home run off the bat of Castaneda, her second hit of the game. 

Utah wrapped up the game with two insurance runs in the last inning as Alyssa Barrera launched her first home run of the season, bringing the final score to 4-1 Utah. 


Game 5

Utah vs. Seattle, 6-3

Utah wrapped up the weekend in sunny Arizona with their fifth win of the weekend against Seattle with a score of 6-3. 

Sandez earned her fourth win of the weekend in this game, adding another three strikeouts to her total over six innings. 

Seattle took the first run of the game in the top of the fourth inning, but the Utes wasted no time taking it back and tying up the game in the next inning. Freshman Madi Jacobus ripped her first home run to make the score 1-1.  

Seattle answered back in the next half inning with one run, but the Utes came ready to play and after a five-run fifth inning, the game was as good as over.  Three singles resulted in one run across the plate, and the other two crossed over when Jacobus doubled a few batters later. 

The final two runs of the inning came with another home run off the bat of Barrera.  Kansas’ one-run sixth inning was futile as Utah took away the final win of the weekend. 


Looking Ahead

Next week, the Utes will travel to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico where they will take on Ole Miss, Texas, Tennessee, Colorado State and the Mexican National Team in Session 2 of the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge.  

The tournament will run from Thursday, Feb. 13 to Sunday, Feb. 16.


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