Softball Ready For La Jolla Invitational
SALT LAKE CITY– The Utah softball team (2-3) will hit the road again this weekend when it plays five games over three days at the La Jolla Invitational in San Diego, Calif., Feb. 18-20.
At Triton Softball Field, the Utes will open up the weekend with a double header against Saint Mary's at 12:00pm MT and Sacramento State at 2:30pm MT. Utah returns to the diamond on Saturday for two games against Sacramento State at 12:00pm MT and tournament host UC San Diego at 5:30pm MT, capping off the invite against Saint Mary's once again on Sunday at 1:30 pm MT.
Utah will play one additional game on Monday, Feb. 21, against the University of San Diego and is set to start at 1:00pm MT at the University of San Diego Softball Complex.
La Jolla Invite Schedule
|Feb. 18||Utah vs. Saint Mary's||Live Stats|
|Utah vs. Sacramento State||Live Stats|
|Feb. 19||Utah vs. Sacramento State||Live Stats|
|UC San Diego vs. Utah||Live Stats/ESPN3|
|Feb. 20||Utah vs. Saint Mary's||Live Stats|
|Feb. 21||Utah vs. San Diego||Live Stats|
How to Follow
Utah's game against UC San Diego will be the only game over the weekend that can be seen on TV. Live coverage can be seen on ESPN3. Keep up with live game action throughout the weekend by following @Utah_Softball on Twitter or through live stats links provided below.
Admission will be free for fans planning on attending the La Jolla Invitational this weekend. According to the UC San Diego Campus Attendance Policy, a mask covering the nose and mouth are required for all spectators. Additional information can be found on the Spectator Attendance Policy page.
Game 1 & 5 vs. Saint Mary's (2-3)
Time: 12:00pm MT & 1:30pm MT (Sunday, Feb. 20)
Competing at the NorCal Kickoff last weekend, the Gaels finished 2-3 with wins over Montana and San Jose State to start their season, both going into extra innings. In their latest matchup against the Gaels, Utah secured the victory, 5-2, on the final day of the Kajikawa Classic in 2018.
Saint Mary's finished with a 13-24 overall record last season and was selected to finish fifth in the West Coast Conference. The Gaels return two players in outfielder Indya Smith and left handed pitcher Sofia Earle, who were named to the 2021 All-WCC teams and are projected to return to that list after this season.
Game 2 & 3 vs. Sacramento State (2-2)
Time: 2:30pm MT & 12:00pm MT (Saturday, Feb. 19)
Also starting off their 2022 campaign at the NorCal Kickoff, Sacramento State enters this weekend with a 2-2 record after taking both games from Santa Clara and dropping a pair to San Jose State. The Hornets finished last year with a record of 15-27, going 8-10 in conference and were selected to place third in the Big Sky Conference in 2022.
Returning three pitchers to this year's roster, the Hornet pitching staff performed well last week combining for a 2.00 ERA, issuing 21 strikeouts and giving up just three walks in 28.0 innings of work.
Game 4 vs. UC San Diego (2-3)
Time: 5:30pm MT
UC San Diego started off their 2022 season at UCLA, going up against three teams that currently rank in the top-12. Dropping games against #1 Oklahoma, #3 UCLA and #12 Oregon, the Triton's returned home with a 2-3 record and a pair of wins against Loyola Marymount and Nevada.
UC San Diego went 16-19 overall and 12-12 in conference in 2021 and were picked to finish fourth in the Big West Conference. The Tritons return 13 players from last season, eight of which are seniors and juniors.
Game 6 vs. San Diego (3-2)
Time: 1:00pm MT (Monday, Feb. 21)
Utah will close out their weekend of play against the University of San Diego on Monday. Competing at the Easton Classic last weekend, the Toreros left with a 3-2 record and wins against Colorado State, Ole Miss and Dixie State.
San Diego was picked to finish third in the West Coast Conference and return sophomore McKenna Braegelmann who was named to the 2021 All-WCC second team and was selected to the 2022 All-WCC Preseason team.
Last Time Out
On the heels of playing in the Kajikawa Classic last weekend in Tempe, Ariz., the Utes won two games against Missouri State and California Baptist. Their three losses came against top-20 matchups, including taking the #7 Oklahoma State Cowgirls down to the wire. Utah dropped its opener against Oklahoma State,4-3, on a walk-off home run before bouncing back to shut out Missouri State 4-0. Senior arm Syndey Sandez led the way throwing a complete game shutout and fanning seven during the outing. The Utes then dropped two games against #14 Duke before finishing strong with a win over California Baptist 11-1, in five innings.
Opening Weekend Stat Leaders
|Batting Avg.||Ellessa Bonstrom & Jordyn Gasper||.467|
|Slugging %||Ellessa Bonstrom||1.067|
|On Base %||Jordyn Gasper & Julia Jimenez||.529|
|Runs Scored||Ellessa Bonstrom||5|
|Home Runs||Ellessa Bonstrom||3|
|ERA||Sydney Sandez||1.38 (13.0 IP)|
Senior Ellessa Bonstrom leads the team with 3 home runs and is nationally tied for fifth in that category. Freshman Stella Bennett leads the Utes and is tied 18th nationally with four stolen bases. Rounding out the nationally ranked Utes is Shi Smith. Smith sits in eighth with a 13.4 strikeouts per seven innings and leads the team with 16 K's so far this season.
As a team, Utah ranks eighth in the nation in stolen bases per game (3.20) after collecting 16 bags in five games over the weekend. The Utes are also tied for 10th in fielding percentage (.992) with Pac-12 foe Oregon.