Utah Softball Adds Two Transfers


Jack Gambassi

The U of U softball team during the game against the ASU Sun Devils on April 2, 2021 at the Dumke Family Softball Stadium on campus. (Photo by Jack Gambassi | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Brian Preece, Sports Writer


When the dust settled on the 2021 Utah softball season, a promising 18-2 non-conference record couldn’t save the Utes when it came to Pac-12 Conference play. Utah finished with a 4-31 record against conference opponents and for a team with post-season aspirations, that just won’t cut it.

With the sour taste of an underwhelming season still evident, Utah head coach Amy Hogue went into the summer knowing that she would have to replace two starters — centerfielder Alyssa Barrera and second baseman Julia Noskin — and a key bat off the bench in Alyssa Palacios, while also finding reinforcements that will allow the Utes to take a step forward in 2022. Those reinforcements have arrived with the addition of two experienced transfers that have chosen to continue their careers in the red and white.

P: Shi Smith — Seattle University

A graduate transfer from Seattle University, Smith joins the Utes after playing four seasons for Seattle and earning first-team All-WAC honors in her senior campaign.

For her career, Smith has appeared in 111 games, starting 50 of those contests. She has a career record of 34-21 to go with 11 saves and a 2.85 ERA. She is familiar with the Utah softball program after facing the Utes twice in preseason play during the 2021 season, including a Feb. 12 complete game loss where she allowed only six hits and two runs.

“We are excited and blessed to announce Shi Smith will be joining our team as a graduate transfer,” Hogue said. “Shi is a spin pitcher who comes in with four years of experience in the circle. We were looking for a veteran pitcher, and we can’t wait to see Shi compete in the Pac-12 for the Utes!”

Smith enters the Utah clubhouse with the most collegiate pitching experience, with her 111 appearances topping that of returning Ute starter Sydney Sandez. She will have one season of eligibility remaining.

IF: Julia Jimenez — University of Michigan

Transferring from the Big Ten to the Pac-12 with three years of eligibility remaining, Jimenez will have plenty of time to make her mark on the Utah softball program. Coming off of earning second-team All-Big Ten honors, the expectations will be high.

Starting all 46 games for the Michigan Wolverines in 2021, Jimenez brings defensive versatility (nine starts at third base, 37 starts at second base) and a bat (41 hits, four home runs and 20 RBI) already accustomed to big time collegiate softball. 

Through two years in Ann Arbor, Jimenez started 69 games, batting .282 with a .314OB% while slugging .421. Her experienced bat will be a huge boost to Hogue’s lineup.

“Today is a big day for the Utes,” Hogue said. “We are announcing the signing of Julia Jimenez, who is an absolute baller. Julia loves the game and plays it with a ton of enthusiasm. She is an infielder with two years of experience as a starter for Michigan. We are excited to have her here and can’t wait to see her in red!” 

Across the Diamond

Hogue will have some big shoes to fill on her coaching staff as Utah Valley University recently announced that long-time Utah assistant coach Cody Thomson has accepted the head coach position at UVU. Thomson spent 14 years alongside Hogue.

“First, I want to thank Coach Amy Hogue and the rest of the staff and administration at the University of Utah. I love that program, the University and the student-athletes I’ve been able to work with over the years,” Thomson said. 

Thomson inherits a 24-28 Wolverine team and will look to apply his experience at Utah to build a top notch Western Athletic Conference program.


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