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Season Opener Thursday at Grand Canyon

Feb 9, 2021

Record Book | TV/Radio Roster

The Utah Softball team, which is receiving votes in the preseason polls, begins the long-awaited 2021 campaign this week with a 6 p.m. matchup on Thursday, Feb. 11 at Grand Canyon University. Five more games await Friday through Sunday as part of Arizona State University's Kajikawa Classic. The tournament will take place at ASU's Farrington Stadium.
 

 Thurs., Feb. 11  at Grand Canyon 6 p.m. MT     LIVESTATSWATCH
 Kajikawa Classic  Arizona State Univ.   TOURNAMENT CENTRAL
 Fri., Feb. 12  vs. Seattle 12 p.m. MT     LIVESTATS
 Fri., Feb. 12  vs. BYU 3 p.m. MT     LIVESTATS
 Sat., Feb. 13  vs. Seattle 3 p.m. MT     LIVESTATS
 Sat., Feb. 13  at ASU (#16) 6 p.m. MT     LIVESTATSWATCH
 Sun., Feb. 14  vs. Seattle 11 a.m. MT     LIVESTATS

"Our student-athletes have shown incredible dedication and commitment in following the protocols so they can enjoy this opportunity," said head coach Amy Hogue. "It's been a long 11 months since we last experienced the joy of playing a game, and now it's time to put it all on the line again and compete."

THE LAST TIME
Grand Canyon: March 1, 2019, Phoenix (L 8-6)
Seattle: Feb. 9, 2020 at Kajikawa Classic, Tempe, Ariz. (W 6-3)
   (Utah at Seattle, scheduled for March 12, 2020, was next game on Utah's schedule when season was halted due to COVID-19)
BYU: May 1, 2019, Provo, Utah (W 11-2)
ASU: March 24, 2019, Tempe, Ariz. (L 18-17)

QUICK GLANCE AT THE UTES
Under 14th year head coach Amy Hogue, Utah enters the 2021 campaign with a talented and deep roster led by two-time NFCA All-Region selection Alyssa Barrera (fifth-year). She batted .381 as a freshman in 2017 (64-168), .322 in 2018 (49-152), .376 in 2019 (59-157) and .421 in 2020 (24-57).

  • The center fielder, who returns for her "super senior" year after the 2020 season was cut short, ranks fourth in Utah history with a .367 batting average.
  • She hit .421 with a .492 on-base percentage while slugging .649 in 2020, and was one of just two Pac-12 players to rank in the top 20 in those individual categories, as well as runs scored.
  • Six other starting position players return this year, including sophomore left fielder and leadoff batter Haley Denning (.397, 12-12 stolen bases), sophomore second baseman Madi Jacobus (team-leading 7 doubles and 17 RBI), junior third baseman Ellessa Bonstrom (.380, 5 HRs and team leading .740 slugging percentage) and senior shortstop Julia Noskin, who was a 2019 NFCA all-region choice.
  • All three pitchers who accounted for every inning pitched for the Utes in 2020 are back this season.
  • Junior Sydney Sandez has been the leader of the staff for each of the past two seasons, and finished 2020 with a record of 11-3 with a 2.42 ERA. She pitched three complete games and added two saves.
  • The staff is bolstered by sophomores Mary Beth Feldman (3-1, 3.32 ERA) and Halle Morris (0-0, 4.44).
  • Eight talented freshmen also provide an influx of talent and depth for the Utes in 2021.

RECORDS WATCH

  • Centerfielder Alyssa Barrera enters the 2021 season with the fourth-best career batting average in Utah Softball history, at .367 (196-534).

HONOR ROLL
Utah's roster features two players who have earned NFCA All-Region honors during their career.

  • CF Alyssa Barrera (Sr.) earned all-region honors for the first time in 2017, and for a second time in 2019 when she paced Utah with a .376 batting average (13th Pac-12), 59 hits, 37 RBI and a .432 on-base percentage. She also finished second on the team with 30 runs scored, nine doubles and a .599 slugging percentage. Barrera's seven triples led the Pac-12 and ranked fifth nationally while tying the school record.
  • SS Julia Noskin picked up her first NFCA honor in 2019 after leading Utah with 36 runs scored and nine stolen bases in 2019. She was second on the team with 54 hits and ranked third in batting (.318). Noskin also paced the Pac-12 with 130 fielding assists and her prowess in the field helped Utah turn a league-best 28 double plays.

HEAD COACH AMY HOGUE | 14th YEAR (Utah '94)
Amy Hogue is in her 22nd season affiliated with the Utah Softball program and 14th as head coach. Hogue, who was inducted into the Utah Athletics Hall of Fame in 2020, has made an incredible impact on the program as a student-athlete (1991-94), assistant coach (1996-99) and head coach (2008-present).

  • In 13 seasons as the Utes' head coach, Hogue has a 349-317-1 record and sports a 546-399-1 overall mark in 19 years as a collegiate head coach.
  • The 2015 Pac-12 Coach of the Year led the Utes to three consecutive NCAA Tournament berths from 2015-2017, including back-to-back Super Regionals for the first time in program history (2016, 2017).
  • In 2020 she guided the Utes to a blazing 14-4 start and a No. 21 national ranking before the season was cut short just prior to the start of Pac-12 play because of COVID-19 concerns.
  • A standout performer for the Utes from 1991-1994, Hogue earned second team All-America honors and WAC Player of the Year as a senior.
  • Before becoming Utah's head coach, Hogue built and mentored Salt Lake Community College's program from 1999-2004.

TOURNAMENT PLAY AND PAC-12 PREVIEW
Before Pac-12 Conference play officially commences on March 19, Utah will have played in three tournaments and taken on three Pac-12 opponents for four additional games. Utah takes part in Arizona State's Kajikawa Classic Feb. 12-14, in which it will face ASU, then the ULNV Desert Classic Feb. 19-21 in Las Vegas. A return trip to Tempe Feb. 28-March will give the Utes a chance to face Oregon, UCLA and ASU in a conference preview, before finishing tournament play March 12-14 at the Dixie State Tournament in St. George, Utah.
 
PAC-12 SCHEDULE IN 2021
In Pac-12 Conference play this year, teams will play a four-game series each weekend, with a doubleheader on the second day of each series. Only three of the four games will count toward the Conference standings, meaning each team will play a total of 32 games against league opponents in the conference portion of the schedule (March 19-May 15), but only 24 will count toward determining the Pac-12 champion.

  • The two single games and the first game of the doubleheader, regardless of day, will count as Conference games.
  • If all four games are played, the second game on Day 2 of each series will be counted as a non-conference game.
  • If only three contests are completed in total, all will count as Conference games.
  • Utah has four other non-conference games against Pac- 12 foes, one against ASU in the Kajikawa Classic (Feb. 13) and three others (vs. Oregon, UCLA and ASU) in Tempe, Ariz., Feb. 28-March 1.

RANKINGS RUMBLINGS
While Utah received votes in the preseason rankings, falling just outside the Top 25, five Pac-12 opponents the Utes will face in 2021 are ranked in the preseason poll. Utah will play a combined 24 games against No. 1 UCLA (5), No. 2 Washington (4), No. 3 Arizona (4), No. 10 Oregon (5) and No. 16 ASU (6).
 
EIGHT FRESHMEN JOIN TALENTED ROSTER
While much of last year's roster returns, the Utes also welcome eight freshmen in 2021, hailing from Utah (1), Arizona (1) and California (6). Read more here.
 
UTES CONTINUE TO EXCEL IN THE CLASSROOM
Utah placed eight student-athletes on the Pac-12 Spring Academic Honor Roll in 2020. Two-time NFCA All-Region honoree and All-Pac-12 performer Alyssa Barrera received her third academic award. Julia Noskin, another Ute recognized as an All-Pac-12 player, notched her second academic honor, as did BreOnna Castaneda and Katie Faulk, while Ellessa Bonstrom, Haley Denning, Claire Feldman and Jordyn Gasper earned their first Pac-12 academic honors. Utah has had 33 student-athletes earn 53 Pac-12 All-Academic honors since joining the conference in 2012.
 
CELEBRATING A HOMECOMING
The Utah softball program has produced countless leaders who have gone on to significant careers in a variety of professions, including head coach Amy (Timmel) Hogue (1991-94). Another who has risen in the intercollegiate athletics world is two-time All-American Charmelle Green, who starred at Utah from 1988-91, and was a teammate of Coach Hogue. It was announced Jan. 26 that Green will be returning to her to Utah as deputy A.D. and chief operating officer, beginning March 1. Green, who was inducted into the Utah Athletics Hall of Fame in 2001, and joined by Hogue in 2020, has spent the past 10 years at Penn State.
 
UP NEXT
The Utes travel to Las Vegas Feb. 19-21 to take part in the UNLV Desert Classic. Utah is scheduled to play Weber State, Cal Baptist (twice) and UNLV (twice) at UNLV's Eller Media Stadium.