NCAA Softball News

Jimenez Drives in Six, Leads Utes Past Aggies, 9-1

Jimenez Drives in Six, Leads Utes Past Aggies, 9-1


SALT LAKE CITYJulia Jimenez set a new career-high with six RBIs, four of them coming on her fourth career grand slam, as the University of Utah softball team cruised past the Utah State Aggies, 9-1, on Monday evening at Dumke Family Softball Stadium in Salt Lake City.
 
Utah has now won three of its past four to improve to 20-15, while the Aggies dropped to 19-16.
 
“That was a great game for us today,” said coach Amy Hogue. “Pitching, hitting, and defense were all impressive. Mariah has had a really good feel for her changeup lately and her screwball was as good as I’ve seen it in a while. She made it very difficult for the hitters to get on time with anything. Belarde was 4-for-4 and [Julia Jimenez] came off the bench and had a big-time day at the plate. It was certainly a great way to start off the week.”
 
The Utes seized the initiative right from the jump, using a single, a pair of groundouts, a walk and a stolen base to put runners on second and third in the first. Both runners were able to come across when Jimenez belted a two-run single into right-center, supplying Utah with the early lead.
 
An Alex Bunton homer got the visitors on the board in the second, but Hogue’s lineup went right back to work in their half of the frame to blow the game open. A walk and back-to-back knocks with one out loaded the bases and Haley Denning and Abby Dayton followed with consecutive singles that each brought in a run. That’s when Jimenez stepped to the plate again and rocketed a 2-1 pitch over the wall in right-center for a grand slam and an 8-1 Utah lead.
 
That proved to be more than enough run support for Mariah Lopez, who spent the day in the circle for Utah and held USU to one unearned run on four hits, while issuing only a single walk. She also struck out multiple batters in the second, third and fifth innings, finishing with a total of eight, on route to her 11th win of the season, third-most in the Pac-12.
 
With Lopez in control in the circle, the Utes needed only one more run to secure the win and they found that final tally in the fifth, which started with a Stella Bennett single. Two batters later, with Bennett on second, Belarde sent a chopper through the middle for her fourth hit of the evening, plating Bennett with the winning run. Belarde’s four hits matched a career-high she set against Arizona in 2013.
 

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