Utes Explode for 28 Runs in Two Wins at UNLV Desert Classic
LAS VEGAS – It took until the late innings but Utah's bats came alive late in both games today at the UNLV Desert Classic to drive the Utes to a 14-7 win over California Baptist and a 14-12 defeat of host UNLV at Eller Media Stadium. Utah improves to 8-2 on the season.
Junior Ellessa Bonstrom hit three home runs over the two games to give her a team-leading and career-best six for the season, and sophomore Halle Morris (2-0) earned the win in relief against CBU, while driving in five runs with a home run and a double.
The Utes scored nine runs in the top of the seventh inning in game one to overcome a 7-5 deficit, and rallied in the top of the sixth in the nightcap with six runs to erase a 9-8 UNLV lead. Junior Sydney Sandez earned the win in relief against UNLV to improve to 5-0.
Head Coach Amy Hogue
"This game is so wild. We have all missed it so much. And yet, it's exhausting. It's intense. It's pressure-filled. It's ever-changing. I'm proud of our perseverance today. Winning two after the loss yesterday is exactly what we needed. It took everyone to get it done. One more tomorrow!"
The top five batters in the lineup for Utah each collected multiple hits in the win over UNLV. Haley Denning, Julia Noskin and Madi Jacobus each had 3 hits, while Nos. 3-4 hitters Alyssa Barrera and Ellessa Bonstrom had two hits apiece and combined for 9 RBI (5 by Bonstrom, 4 by Barrera).
Utah 14, CBU 7
Junior Halle Morris earned the win in relief and provided five RBI with a double and a home run, as Utah scored nine runs in the top of the seventh to erase a 7-5 deficit and defeat California Baptist 14-7. Morris blasted her first career home run in the top of the second to give Utah a 3-0 lead, then replaced starting pitcher Mary Beth Feldman in the fourth inning with Utah trailing 7-5. All seven CBU runs came in the second inning, on six hits and an error.
Morris allowed just three hits in four shutout innings to earn the win, and kept the Utes in the game for a chance to rally in the seventh. And rally they did. Utah, whose bats had gone cold after a two-run homer by Ellessa Bonstrom in the third, scored nine runs in the seventh to take a 14-7 lead it would maintain for the win.
Alyssa Barrera had two hits in the inning and drove in three runs, the first coming on a double to score Julia Noskin and cut the deficit to 7-6. Madi Jacobus drove in Barrera to tie the game and Jordyn Gasper singled to score Bonstrom for the lead, 8-7. Morris doubled to score two more and Barrera later drove in the final two runs.
Utah 14, UNLV 12
Again showing a flair for the dramatic, Utah exploded in the top of the sixth inning with six runs to turn a 9-8 deficit into a 14-9 lead, and held off a seventh-inning rally by UNLV. Ellessa Bonstrom hit her second and third home runs of the day—a 3-run shot in the first and a 2-run blast in the sixth—to set a career high with six for the season, and Syndey Sandez pitched the final 5-1/3 innings to improve to 5-0 on the season.
The top five batters in the order combined to bat 13-21 (.619) with 3 home runs, 11 RBI and 11 runs scored between them. Utah led 7-5 after three innings on the strength of three-run homers by Bonstrom and Alyssa Barrera, and extended it to 8-5 before UNLV responded with four in the bottom of the fourth to take a 9-8 lead, setting the stage for the Utes' sixth-inning outburst.
The decisive sixth inning began with Haley Denning and Julia Noskin leading off with singles and executing a double-steal to set up a sacrifice fly by Barrera to tie the game. Bonstrom's two-run homer to right field gave Utah an 11-9 lead, and a colossal home run blast to center field by Katie Faulk added three more to make it 14-9. UNLV posed a threat in the bottom of the seventh to make it a 14-12 final.
2-out, 2-on...0-2 count...
No problem. Absolute monster shot by @katie_faulk15!! ??
UNLV 9 pic.twitter.com/cfAhSVsdp3
— Utah Softball ?? (@Utah_Softball) February 21, 2021
- Madi Jacobus extended her hitting streak to 8 games by going 6-9 today (3-5 and 3-4) and has taken over the team batting lead by increasing her average to .429.
- Alyssa Barrera is batting .423 (11-26) over the past 7 games with 2 HR, 3 doubles, 8 runs and 14 RBI. She was clutch in both wins today, with her double in the seventh inning of the comeback against CBU pulling Utah to with one run at 7-6 and in the nightcap her sac fly tied the game at 9-9, en route to the 14-12 win.
- Halle Morris hit her first career HR vs. CBU, a 3-run pinch-hit shot in the second inning to become the fifth different Utah player to homer this year (Bonstrom 6; Jacobus, Barrera & Faulk 2; Morris 1). Morris added a 2-run double in the 9-run 7th-inning rally for 5 RBI on day and was the winning pitcher.
- Ellessa Bonstrom homered in the 3rd inning against CBU today and in the 1st and 6th innings against UNLV to mark a career high with 6 for the season. She hit 5 as a freshman in 2019 and 5 more in the shortened 18-game 2020 season.
- Haley Denning ran her hitting streak to 10 games, going 1-5 against CBU and 3-5 against UNLV. The streak was in danger as she was hitless in 4 at-bats against CBU until her RBI single in the 9-run seventh inning.
- Denning ranks second on the team in batting (.425) and was 3-3 in stolen bases for the second day in a row, for a combined 6-6 in the four games. She is 10-11 on the season.
— Utah Softball ?? (@Utah_Softball) February 21, 2021
Utah (8-2) wraps up three days at the UNLV Desert Classic on Sunday with a single game against UNLV (6-2) at 12 p.m. MT. For more on the tournament, click here.
Second RBI hit of the inning for @alyssavb16 and we've scored 9?? runs in the top of the 7th!
CBU 7 pic.twitter.com/ORwCWIafp0
— Utah Softball ?? (@Utah_Softball) February 20, 2021