TUCSON, Ariz. – Karlie Davison, Sophie Jacquez, Ellessa Bonstrom and Kendall Lundberg all smashed solo home runs and the No. 23 University of Utah softball team grabbed a series opening victory over the No. 17 Arizona Wildcats by a score of 8-3 on Friday evening at Hillenbrand Field.
The Utes have now stretched their win streak to 11-in-a-row, they are 20-4 overall and 4-0 in Pac-12 play for the first time ever. This is the first time Utah has started 4-0 in league play since 2000.
“That was such a fun start to the series,” said head coach Amy Hogue. “I’m so proud of how this team played. All areas of the game were executed and I couldn’t be happier.
“A complete game win for Mariah was fantastic! She’s a rise ball pitcher and knows that means she will give up some home runs, but solos don’t hurt you unless you fold, which she didn’t do. She was so tough today [and] she kept mixing her pitches. And her offense had her back and answered with runs in every inning but one today.”
The Utes raced out of the gate to grab the early lead, starting with a two-run rally in the first. Aliya Belarde’s one-out double got things started and a wild pitch, a hit batter and a stolen base soon had Julia Jimenez at the plate with runners on second and third. Utah’s third baseman tallied the first run of the night by lining an RBI single into left and Jacquez followed by bouncing a run-scoring hit through the right side to make the score 2-0.
Davison provided the night’s first round-tripper in the second when she walloped a solo homer to left and the Utes tacked on two more runs in the fourth, thanks to a single, an error and a Bonstrom infield hit that scored both Davison and Haley Denning, increasing Utah’s advantage to 5-0.
Arizona put their first dent in home plate on a Devyn Netz homer in the bottom of the fourth, but Jacquez immediately got that run back when she whacked the first pitch of the fifth over the wall in right-center for her first circuit clout of the year. One inning later, it was Bonstrom who went deep, blasting a solo shot to the opposite field that made the score 7-1. Lundberg’s solo bomb in the seventh added another insurance run.
In the circle, Utah’s Mariah Lopez went the distance for her fifth complete game of the season and permitted the Wildcats only four hits while striking out six. She finished the night by striking out Paige Dimler, securing the Utes’ 11th consecutive…
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