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Lopez Fans Season Best 8 Batters, Softball Falls to Saint Mary's 1-0

Feb 20, 2022

SAN DIEGO- Utah softball (6-4) fell just short of completing a sweep at the La Jolla Invitational this weekend, dropping their final game of the tournament to Saint Mary's, 1-0. It was tough offensive outing for the Utes recording only three hits and leaving 11 runners stranded on base.

Sophomore Mariah Lopez showed great resilience in the circle. Lopez starting off shaky but locked in and struck out a season best eight batters in six innings of work, giving up just 5 hits and a run.

As the designated away team, Haley Denning stepped into the box and led off with a bunt single to start the game. Denning then took both of her two stolen bases of the contest to put her in prime scoring position on third. Ellessa Bonstrom showed discipline at the plate this afternoon, drawing two walks and was hit by a pitch in all three her plate appearances. In the first, Bonstrom got on base and immediately stole second to apply pressure on the Gaels with runners on second and third. Utah was unable to convert as the next to batters were retired to end the opening frame.

Already dropping a game to the Utes on Friday, the Gaels came out swinging putting runners on first and second off a hit through the right side and a walk. The following batter grounded to Aliya Belarde at second but was safe on an errant throw from Belarde that allowed the one and only run of the game to come across the plate.

The inning continued as Saint Mary's loaded the bases with two outs but Lopez closed the door on them striking out Indya Smith to get out of the jam.

Both offenses stayed relatively quiet until the fifth when the Utes threatened for the first time since the first. Denning and Belarde both singled and it was Stella Bennett dropping down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners to second and third. Bonstrom walked for the second time to load them up but again the Utes we unable to score. Utah replicated the fifth in the top of the six.

Utah had one last chance going into the seventh with the heart of the lineup due up. Bonstrom reached first on her third walk of the afternoon but the Utes were unable to get the ball in the air, grounding out three times to fall to Saint Mary's on Sunday.

The Utes are now 6-4 overall and had their five games winning streak snapped by the Gaels.

Up Next
Utah softball will play the final game of their San Diego road trip on Monday against the University of San Diego. The game is set to start at 2:00pm MT and will be played at the San Diego Softball Complex. Fans can follow the action live here.

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For fans of the Utah softball program, follow the Utes on Twitter (@Utah_Softball), Instagram (@utahsoftball) and Facebook (@utesoftball).