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Softball Earns Split on Day 1 of UNLV Desert Classic

Feb 19, 2021

Box Score 1 | Box Score 2 | Boxscore

LAS VEGAS – Late-game heroics keyed a 4-3 win for Utah over Weber State in the first game of the UNLV Desert Classic Friday, but the Utes could not find the same late-inning magic in the second game, falling 5-3 to California Baptist at Eller Media Stadium.
With the split, Utah is 6-2 on the season. The 4-3 win over Weber State gave Utah a 4-0 record in one-run games. In the second game, versus CBU, Utah had the bases loaded with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, trailing 5-3, but could not get the timely hit. Sydney Sandez (4-0) earned the win in the opener, while Mariah Lopez (0-2) took the loss in game 2.
Head Coach Amy Hogue
"A split today is disappointing and yet it took everything we had to get that first win. We are due to win a game with our offense. We have been leaning on our pitching and they struggled for a lot of the day today. It's time for our offense to be there for our pitchers. We need to do a better job of adjusting at the plate and hitting balls hard."

Left fielder and leadoff batter Haley Denning was successful in all three stolen-base attempts over the two games and is 7-8 for the season. She also batted 3-7 and scored three runs today.
Utah 4, Weber State 3
Alyssa Barrera tied the game with a two-out RBI single in the top of the seventh with Utah trailing Weber State 3-2, and Ellessa Bonstrom followed with an RBI single to score Barrera, giving the Utes a 4-3 victory in the first game of the UNLV Desert Classic. Sydney Sandez (4-0) earned the win in relief of starter Mary Beth Feldman, pitching four innings and allowing just 3 hits and a run while striking out four.
The win was Utah's fourth this season in one-run games (4-0) and improved the Utes' season record to 6-1, while the Wildcats fell to 2-4. After managing just two hits through the game's first five innings, Utah had a breakthrough in the top of the 6th when Madi Jacobus blasted her second home run of the season, a solo shot with one out to pull the Utes to within 1 at 3-2.
Still trailing 3-2 entering the top of seventh, Denning reached first on a one-out single and stole second on a called third strike against Julia Noskin. Barrera came to bat with Utah down to its last out and came through in the clutch yet again, singling to score Denning, and advancing to second on the throw to the plate. Bonstrom then delivered what would ultimately prove to be the game-winning hit on the first pitch, scoring Barrera from second.
CBU 5, Utah 3
Utah looked like it would find another timely hit and replicate its late-game rally from earlier in the day, loading the bases with two outs in the seventh inning, trailing 5-3. The threat was subdued, however, as CBU forced a fly-out to center field to end the game.
The Utes built a 3-0 lead after two innings, keyed by a two-run pinch-hit single to center field by Destiny Quiles in the second that scored Haley Denning and Savanah Whatley. It was Denning's second run scored, following a first inning that saw Denning cross the plate on a sacrifice fly by Madi Jacobus. Utah's bats would go quiet, however, as the team managed just three more hits over the final five innings.
After winning the earlier game in relief, Sydney Sandez started against CBU and pitched into the fourth, yielding to Mariah Lopez with one out and two on, and Utah leading 3-1. Lopez (0-2) allowed just three hits in her 3-2/3 innings of work, and struck out five, but took the loss after CBU ultimately scored three runs in the 4th and added another on a solo home run in the 7th.


  • Haley Denning has hit safely in all eight games this season and leads the team in batting (.433). She scored three runs today and was 3-3 in stolen bases today, increasing her season total to 7-8
  • Alyssa Barrera was on a tear over the final three games of last week's Kajikawa Classic and today's first game of the UNLV Desert Classic. In that four-game span she batted 7-15 with 7 RBI, including the game-tying RBI single with two outs in the seventh inning of today's win over Weber State.
  • Madi Jacobus hit a solo HR in top of the 6th inning of the 4-3 win over Weber State, which cut the deficit to 3-2, setting the table for the 4-3 win an inning later. It was her second of the season and fourth of her career.
  • Freshman Aliya Belarde saw her first collegiate action today as a pinch runner against CBU. Six true freshmen have now played for the Utes through the season's first eight games: Belarde, Alicia Estrada, Sophie Jacquez, Mariah Lopez, Shelbi Ortiz and Savanah Whatley.

Utah (6-2) will play two more times on Saturday in the UNLV Desert Classic, facing California Baptist for a second time, at 1:30 p.m. MT, followed by a matchup with host UNLV at 4 p.m. For more on the tournament, click here.