Utah Softball Drops Two of Three to Stanford


Abu Sufian Muhammad Asib

University of Utah softball team player and freshman Mariah Lopez (8) pitches during an NCAA dual meet against Stanford University at the Dumke Family Softball Stadium in Salt Lake City on March 27, 2021. (Photo by Abu Asib | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Chase Mullin, Assistant Sports Editor


The University of Utah softball team came into Friday’s series against the Stanford Cardinal with an overall record of 17-14, and a conference record of 1-1. Outside of undefeated UCLA and Arizona State, no team in the Pac-12 softball conference has really established themselves apart from the rest. 

After losing two of three to Stanford, including two close contests that could have fallen their way, this weekend feels like somewhat of a disappointment for Utah. In short, Utah’s weekend can be summarized by consistently solid pitching paired with a feast or famine offense.

Game One

The three-game affair between Utah and Stanford opened up on a beautiful, 72-degree Friday evening in the Bay Area. Utah’s Mariah Lopez faced off against Alana Vawter for Stanford. 

Scoreless in the second inning, Lopez would concede two walks and a single to Stanford, loading the bases for Stanford’s Kaitlyn Lim who launched a grand slam to center field, putting Stanford up 4-0. The second inning would prove to be the only blemish on Lopez’s outing, as she would pitch a shutout for the remainder of the game and only concede a total of five hits, keeping Utah in the game.

Unfortunately for Lopez, the Utah offense was only able to produce two runs despite coming up with eight hits, with Utah’s only two tallies coming from an RBI single as well as a home run from Utah’s Ellessa Bonstrom. Utah would put two runners on base in the top of the seventh, but were unable to convert. In the end, Utah would fall to Stanford 4-2 in a game that felt like it slipped away from them.

Game Two

Saturday’s game was a completely different narrative from Friday’s, as Utah’s offense showed what they were capable of, absolutely picking apart Stanford’s pitching. 

Julia Jimenez kicked off the scoring for Utah with a two-run blast in the first inning. Up 2-1 in the second, Utah would begin to pull away, scoring two runs in the second and third, and one run in the fourth. By the time the fifth inning rolled around, Utah held a comfortable 7-2 lead before adding another four runs to the board.

Utah pitcher Shi Smith would blank the Cardinal in the bottom of the fifth to secure an 11-2 mercy-rule victory for the Utes. Smith would ultimately pitch the whole game, allowing two runs on just five hits. 

Game Three

As mentioned before, Utah’s offense in this series could be best described as feast or famine while their pitching was relatively lights out all weekend, and this storyline rang true in Sunday’s game. Utah’s Sydney Sanchez battled Stanford ace Alana Vawter. Sanchez would throw three shutout innings before handing the ball to Shi Smith, who despite pitching the day before, threw three innings of two hit softball, allowing just one earned run.

While Sanchez and Smith pitched about as well as you could ask, the one run they did concede would prove to be the game winner. Alana Vawter would allow just four hits and no earned runs, leading Stanford to a 1-0 victory over Utah.

In the end, Utah showed a great deal of promise this weekend with four respectable pitching performances and an offensive outburst on Saturday, but the weekend still felt somewhat disappointing to Utah, as their two losses came in games that seemed to simply not fall their way. The Utes now look forward to a rivalry game against BYU on Tuesday at Dumke Family Stadium.


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