Utah Softball Silences SDSU in Second NCAA Super Regional Game


The University of Utah women’s softball team takes the field against the SDSU Aztecs on Saturday, May 27, 2023. (Photo by CJ Alexander | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Margot Reynolds and CJ Alexander


The University of Utah women’s softball team (40-14) handed SDSU a punishing loss in the second game of the NCAA Super Regionals. The Utes are now just one win away from a visit to the Women’s College World Series, where they last appeared in 1994. After a close game on Friday, the two teams are now tied at one game each and will play again tomorrow in a game you won’t want to miss.

After yesterday’s loss, the Utes came out swinging and ready for revenge. Aliya Belarde opened up with a single to shortstop and was immediately brought back to the dugout by Ellessa Bonstrom, who homered over the right center wall to a roaring Utah fanbase. While the next three batters, Julia Jimenez, Sophie Jacquez and Karlie Davison, all popped out, the Utes started the game off strong and kept the momentum going. In the bottom of the first, SDSU’s Bella Espinoza singled to third base and advanced to second after a single from Cali Decker. A single from Makena Brocki brought Espinoza home before a flyout ended the inning with Utah up 2-1.

After Ute Abby Dayton struck out swinging, Haley Denning singled to third base. Kendall Lundberg flied out to left field before a double from Shelbi Ortiz brought Denning home. A groundout from Belarde brought the top of the second to a close. Utah pitcher Mariah Lopez shut down any SDSU momentum with a strikeout, followed by two caught pop-ups for a short and sweet second inning. Heading into the third, Utah was up 3-1.

With two outs, after Bonstrom and Jimenez each flied out to centerfield, a 30-minute lightning delay paused the game. Coming back from the delay, Utah’s Jacquez reached first on an SDSU error. Davison singled to center field and Stella Bennett, pinch running for Jacquez, reached second. She was then tagged out at home as she tried to score off of a Dayton single. SDSU saw one hit in the bottom of the third with a double from Mac Barbara but the Utah defense shut down any hope of scoring.

In the top of the fourth, Denning grounded out before Lundberg singled to center field. Ortiz flied out to center field before Belarde singled. Bonstrom loaded the bases after being hit by a pitch; Jiminez took advantage of the scoring opportunity and let one fly over the left center fence, bringing in four runs and riling up the crowd. A single from Jacquez brought another opportunity to score, but a popout from Davison ended the inning. After a three-up, three-down bottom of the fourth, the Utes were up 7-1.

The fifth inning saw more of the same. Dayton reached first on an SDSU error and Denning followed up with a bunt to advance Dayton to second. Lundberg hit a solid ball down the third base line and reached first on a fielder’s choice as Dayton was picked off at third. Ortiz stepped up to the plate ready for anything and hit an impressive ball over the right field fence to bring the game home. Lundberg, Denning and Ortiz rounded the bases to make the score 10-1 for Utah as the crowd went wild one more time. Belarde singled and advanced to second when Bonstrom was knocked out at first after a bunt, but was left stranded on second when Jimenez grounded out. A flyout and groundout started off SDSU’s last chance to score before Espinoza singled to the pitcher. After a single from Barbara, Espinoza was out at second and the game was called on the run rule.

The blowout win puts Utah back on the field tomorrow, Sunday, May 28 at noon mountain time. The team that wins will move on to the Women’s College World Series. Be there to support!


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