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Utes Split Softball Doubleheader at Cal

Apr 10, 2021

BERKELEY, Calif. – The Utah softball team looked to be in position to pull off a doubleheader sweep Saturday at Cal after tying game two at 3-3 in the top of the fourth, following a 4-3 win in game one. The host Bears, however, had other ideas and responded with three-run home run in the bottom of the fourth to retake the lead and went on to win the nightcap, 6-4, at Levine-Fricke Field.
 
Utah is now 16-17 on the year (2-9 Pac-12), while Cal improves to 15-12 (2-6 Pac-12). The Bears lead the series 2-1 with one game to play Sunday.
 
STANDOUT STAT
Haley Denning continues to be the Utes' offensive spark plug at the leadoff position, going 2-4 in each game today, scoring two runs and stealing four bases.
 
QUOTABLE
Head Coach Amy Hogue

"It was great to get that first game. MB (Feldman) gave us some quality innings and Halle (Morris) closed out a gem. Haley Denning stepped in today and played a great game at shortstop. We have been injured and have needed to mix things up a bit and she was such a highlight for us over there all day today.
 
A couple small things made the difference in game two. We had our chances and they capitalized and we didn't. We just left too many on base. The team is competing well. I feel like we have been in position to win every game we play. Tomorrow will be a huge game for us to go get."

Game 1: Utah 4, Cal 3
Haley Denning, Ellessa Bonstrom and Jordyn Gasper each had two hits and Halle Morris pitched four solid innings in relief of starter Mary Beth Feldman to pick up her fourth win of the season. Utah scored a single run in four different innings to provide just enough offense for the 4-3 win.
 
Utah opened the scoring with a run in the top of the first when Denning led off with a single, stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error, before coming in to score on a single by Bonstrom. Cal scored a run in the second and third innings to take a 2-1 lead, but Utah tied the game in the fourth when Destiny Quiles delivered a pinch-hit double to score Jordyn Gasper.
 
Bonstrom broke the 2-2 tie with a one-out solo homer in the fifth, and Alyssa Palacios followed an inning later with her second home run in as many days, a solo shot to extends Utah's lead to 4-2. Cal cut it to 4-3 with a run in the sixth, and threatened in the seventh but Denning made a diving stab from her shortstop position on a grounder up the middle and flipped to Noskin at second to force out Aleia Agbayani. Morris allowed just three hits and one earned run in four innings of work, with three strikeouts.
 
Game 2: Cal 6, Utah 4
The Utes came back from a 3-0 deficit to tie the game in the fourth inning, but Cal reclaimed the lead in its half of the fourth, 6-3, and Utah could muster only one more run over the final three innings in a hard-fought battle.
 
Cal took a 2-0 lead with a home run in the bottom of the first and added another run in the second to take a 3-0 lead. Sydney Sandez replaced starter Halle Morris in the second and pitched the final 4.1 innings allowing just three hits while striking out three.
 
Utah finally got on the board in the fourth, scoring three runs to tie the game. After loading the bases on a single and two hit-by-pitches, the Utes brought in their first run when Jordyn Gasper reached base on an error to score Ellessa Bonstrom. Katie Faulk grounded out to score Halle Morris and Gasper scored on a single by Alyssa Palacios.
 
The Bears quickly struck back with a three-run homer in the bottom of the fourth to take a 6-3 lead. Haley Denning tripled to lead off the fifth and came in to score on a groundout by Alyssa Barrera to cut the deficit to 6-4, but Utah could not cut into the lead any further.
   
NOTABLE

  • Haley Denning stole four bases today—two in each game—to increase her Pac-12-leading total to 24 (in 26 att.) on the season, most by a Utah player since 2002 (Molly McLean, 28-31).
  • Denning had two hits in each game and has had multiple hits in each of the three games in this series and in five of her last six games overall. She leads the team with 16 multi-hit games, including 10 with two hits and 6 with three hits.
  • Denning tripled in the fifth inning of Game 2, her team-leading fourth three-bagger of the year.
  • Ellessa Bonstrom missed three games because of injury but came back in a big way in game one, singling in a run in her first at-bat of game one to give Utah a 1-0 lead, and delivering her ninth HR of the year in the fifth to put Utah ahead 3-2. She now has 22 RBI on the season, second-most on the team.
  • With the 4-3 win in game one, Utah is now 6-3 on the season in one-run games.
  • Alyssa Palacios hit a solo home run for the second game in a row with her fifth-inning shot in game one to provide what ultimately was the game-winning run, giving Utah a 4-2 lead in an eventual 4-3 win.
  • Halle Morris earned the win in game one to improve her season record to 4-3.

ON DECK
The Utes and Bears meet for the series finale Sunday at 1 p.m. MT on Pac-12 Network Mountain and the Pac-12 Now app.