Utah Softball Defeats UCLA to Take Pac-12 Championship


David Chenoweth

Catcher Julia Scardina (#28) swings away as the Utes take on No. 11 Oregon at the Dumke Family Softball Stadium at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, on Friday, March 18, 2022. (Photo by David Chenoweth | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Elijah Murray, Sports Writer


The Lady Utes are this year’s softball Pac-12 champions! After starting the season with no expectations from the softball world, the Utes quietly developed a powerhouse throughout the season and kept rolling till they lifted silverware. 

Heading into the Pac-12 tournament, the Utes had a home stretch against UCLA in which they lost all three games: 0-3, 1-10, and 3-11. The sweep came as a bit of a surprise despite the Bruins being the top team in the conference all season, with Utah on their heels throughout. Luckily, the Lady Utes had a stretch in Eugene against the Ducks to try and regain some momentum heading into the conference tournament, and that’s exactly what they did. Utah took Oregon by storm, winning the first game of the series 3-1 before pulling out the broom to complete the sweep 8-2 and 2-0

With all the momentum in their favor, the Utes went from Oregon to Tucson, Arizona for the Pac-12 tournament. Utah’s opening game was against the California Golden Bears which they went on to easily win 6-2. Two wins away from hoisting the Pac-12 trophy, the Utes had Washington next up and they delivered, winning 8-4. Finding themselves in what seemed like an unattainable game at the beginning of the year, the Lady Utes were ready to solidify that what they had accomplished wasn’t a fluke, and what better opponent to prove themselves against than UCLA?

After getting swept against the Bruins only two weeks before, the Utes found themselves face-to-face once more in the biggest game of the year. Aired on ESPN2, the Utes were set on the trophy and the Bruins felt it as they fell 7-4 and watched the team they crushed not too long ago crown themselves champions. 

The Lady Utes finished their stellar season with a 15-9 conference record and an overall record of 37-13 while boasting a .323 batting average and a .867 OPS with 42 home runs and a .483 SLG%. A whopping 8 players sported a batting average above 300 with Aliya Belarde, Julia Jimenez, Sophie Jaquez and Ellessa Bonstrom headlining the team with their sensational stat lines. 

The Utes aren’t done, however, as they are set for NCAA Regionals up next where they will face Southern Illinois at home and on ESPN+ on May 19. With a win, the Lady Utes will advance to the NCAA Super Regionals on May 26, and if Utah continues their dominance, they will reach the holy grail of softball, the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma. This team is ready to go the distance and with a conference championship in the bag, the Utes are hungry for more and are eager to flash the U on the world stage.


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