Doubleheader Sweep for Softball in St. George
ST. GEORGE, UTAH – Utah's bats came alive in the desert Wednesday to help the visiting Utes secure two wins at Dixie State's Karl Brooks Field, defeating the host Trailblazers 11-3 in the opening game and winning a neutral-site contest against Southern Utah, 7-5, in the nightcap. Utah belted three home runs, including a grand slam by Halle Morris, to win the opener over DSU, and came back from an early 3-0 deficit in the nightcap to defeat SUU and close out the two-day trip to St. George with a 3-0 record.
Utah evens its record at 15-15 with today's pair of wins, while Dixie State falls to 15-18 and Southern Utah is now 11-18.
Head Coach Amy Hogue
"The goal was to come down here and get three wins and we did just that. We had a bunch of different contributors in all three. With some injuries, we have had to switch things up quite a bit, both offensively and defensively. I've been very happy with a few that haven't been everyday starters including Jordy (Gasper), Eli (Espinosa) and AJ (Militello). We have needed some RBIs coming from the bottom of our lineup and those three did just that for us.
Mariah (Lopez) is continuing to get stronger every week. She is starting to show us her competitive side and to lead us with some determination and grit. I was proud of her performance as a closer yesterday and as a starter twice today."
Game 1: Utah 11, Dixie State 3 (6 inn.)
The Utes hit three home runs, including a grand slam by Halle Morris in the third and a three-run shot by AJ Militello in the sixth, to come away with an 11-3 six-inning run-rule victory over Dixie State to sweep a two-game series. Utah had opened the scoring with a solo home run by Jordyn Gasper in the second.
Haley Denning went 3-4 at the plate and scored twice, while Gasper scored three runs, among six different Utah players who crossed the plate. Leading 6-3 in the sixth, Alyssa Barrera doubled in a run and then scored on a passed ball to stretch the lead to 8-3, setting the table for Militello's three-run homer.
Starting pitcher Mariah Lopez (3-8) earned the win, while Mary Beth Feldman and Morris pitched effectively in relief to hold the Trailblazers in check.
Rocket shot to center by @hallemorris24, her 4th of the year!
Dixie St 0
— Utah Softball ?? (@Utah_Softball) April 7, 2021
3-run shot by @liv_militello, her 2nd of the year!
Dixie St. 3
— Utah Softball ?? (@Utah_Softball) April 7, 2021
Game 2: Utah 7, Southern Utah 5
The Utes overcame a 3-0 first-inning deficit to defeat the Thunderbirds in the final game of a three-game visit to St. George. Starting pitcher Mariah Lopez (4-8) earned the win, settling down after the first inning to allow just three hits in her five innings of work, with two earned runs while striking out five, and Julia Noskin went 2-3 with two runs scored and two RBI. Halle Morris came on to close out the final two innings.
Utah's comeback began in the bottom of the second when it scored two runs, the first of which came on a single by Alyssa Palacios to score Morris. The Utes tied the game an inning later when Jordyn Gasper doubled to score Julia Noskin, who had led off with a single, knotting the score at 3-3.
Noskin broke the tie in the fourth inning with a two-run single and later stole home to push the lead to 6-3. The Utes final run came when AJ Militello dashed home in the fifth inning after Palacios drew a throw down to second base on a steal attempt and pulled SUU into a rundown. SUU scored twice in the top of the seventh to narrow the gap, but Morris got out of the jam to preserve the win.
- Utah's 11 runs and 12 hits in the game one win over Dixie State were Utah's most since belting out 15 hits in a 14-12 win at UNLV on Feb. 20.
- The three home runs vs. DSU were Utah's most since March 1 vs. UCLA (3), and marked the fifth game this season with three more home runs.
- The Utes have a three-game winning streak for the first time since winning three in a row Feb. 20-21 over California Baptist and UNLV (2). Their longest winning streak of the season came in the team's 4-0 start to the season, Feb. 11-13.
- Mariah Lopez struck out six batters over the two games, including five in the nightcap vs. SUU, to increase her team-leading total to 43 on the season.
- Haley Denning (3-4 in the opener today) leads the team with 13 multi-hit games, including 7 with two hits and 6 with three hits.
- Alyssa Barrera and Jordyn Gasper each have five-game hitting streaks, the longest current streaks on the team. Utah's longest this season is 14 games by Madi Jacobus.
- The grand slam by Halle Morris against SUU was her fourth HR of the year, tying for second-most on the team with Katie Faulk, behind Ellessa Bonstrom (8).
Tied no longer...
2-run single by @julianoskin10!!
— Utah Softball ?? (@Utah_Softball) April 8, 2021
Utah will stay on the road, traveling to the Bay Area to take on California in a four-game Pac-12 series, Fri.-Sun., April 9-11. All games will be televised on Pac-12 Network.