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Utes Sweep Doubleheader from UVU in Return to Dumke Family Stadium

Mar 23, 2021

Box Score 2 | Box Score 1 | Boxscore

SALT LAKE CITY  – The Utah Softball program enjoyed its long-awaited return to Dumke Family Softball Stadium Tuesday with a doubleheader sweep of visiting Utah Valley University. The Utes used a seven-run third inning to power their way to a 10-2 run-rule win in the first game, and edged the Wolverines 2-1 in the second game, aided by Katie Faulk's fifth-inning solo home run that broke a 1-1 tie.
 
Utah improved to 11-9 with the sweep, while the Wolverines fell to 11-13.
 
Today's games were Utah's first home contests in 688 days, a gap largely due to the pandemic shutting down the 2020 season before Utah's first home game. The Utes then played their first 18 games of the 2021 season away from home, making today's games Utah's first home games since May 2019.
 
STANDOUT STAT
Alyssa Barrera went 5-6 with four RBI and a run scored in the doubleheader to run her hitting streak to six games.
 
QUOTABLE
Head Coach Amy Hogue
"It felt great to play at home finally! It's been two years and it felt like twice that, at least. It was also nice to get back on a winning streak. I like the adjustment our hitters made in the first game. Game two was a different story for our hitters. There wasn't enough of an adjustment in our at-bats, which allowed their starter to stay in the entire time. That was disappointing.
 
"A couple kids came off the bench and helped us big-time. (Aliya) Belarde was ready to come in to replace (Julia) Noskin when she got injured (hit by pitch). She had a key sacrifice bunt and played solid on defense. Mariah (Lopez) was excellent. She threw a fantastic game in relief with a tight zone and it was great to see her do well in that role coming off the bench today."
 
Game 1: Utah 10, UVU 2
Utah broke open a scoreless game in the third inning with a seven-run outburst that began with AJ Militello's first career home run, a leadoff shot to left-center. After a second run came home on a double by Julia Noskin to score Haley Denning, Utah loaded the bases for Alyssa Barrera, who came through for a bases-clearing triple to extend the lead to 5-2.
 
Utah would add two more runs that inning to take a commanding 7-0 lead, and added another in the fifth inning. Leading 8-2 in the sixth, Morris looped a single into shallow right field that scored Ellessa Bonstrom and Noskin to end the game via run-rule.
 
Sydney Sandez started and earned the win to improve to 6-1, pitching 5.0 solid innings with six hits and two earned runs allowed while striking out three. Brooke Carter (3-4) took the loss for UVU. Barrera was 3-3 at the plate while Denning was 2-4.
 
Game 2: Utah 2, UVU 1
Barrera and Denning each went 3-3 at the plate and Katie Faulk provided a solo home run in the bottom of the fifth, her fourth of the year, to break a 1-1 tie and score the eventual winning run.
 
Mariah Lopez (2-5) pitched five innings of two-hit shutout ball in relief, striking out four, to earn the win after starter Halle Morris departed in the third inning.  Devyn Cretz (5-6) took the loss for UVU.
 
Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the fourth, Utah tied the game when Barrera drove in a run for the second game in a row, this time scoring Denning from second after she had singled and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Aliya Belarde. An inning later came Faulk's home run to provide the difference while Lopez was slamming the door on the Wolverines.

NOTABLE

  • Alyssa Barrera has a team-best six-game hitting streak.
  • Barrera's bases-loaded triple in game one was her first since 2019 when she had seven for the season. It was the only other year of her career—which dates back to 2017—in which she had hit a triple until today.
  • Barrera's three hits in the opener tied a career single-game high, and marked the ninth time she has done so in her career.
  • Katie Faulk's fifth-inning home run in the nightcap was her fourth of the season to rank second on the team behind Ellessa Bonstrom (7).
  • AJ Militello homered for the first time in her career in game one, and became one of eight different Utah players with a home run in 2021.
  • Haley Denning stole a base in each game today and is now 17-19 for the season. She had a streak of 12 consecutive stolen bases ended in the first game today.
  • Mariah Lopez struck out four batters in game two to extend her team-leading total to 31 on the season.

ON DECK
Utah will host Stanford in a Pac-12 series at Dumke Family Stadium this weekend, beginning Friday at 4 p.m. MT. All Pac-12 series in 2020 will feature four games, including a doubleheader on the middle day, of which the second game will not count in the conference standings. Saturday's doubleheader begins at 1 p.m. and Sunday's series finale begins at noon.