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Sandez Throws Second Complete Shut Out, Utes Defeat USD 5-0

Feb 21, 2022

SAN DIEGO- Utah softball (7-4) ended their six-game slate in San Diego going 5-1 and closed out the holiday weekend defeating the University of San Diego, 5-0.

While the Utah offense took a couple innings to come alive, senior Sydney Sandez made her fourth start of the year and struck out four, throwing her second complete game shutout of the young season.

The Utes bounced back from their 1-0 defeat yesterday and are now 7-4 overall.

"We came to San Diego with the hopes of winning all six games this weekend. So it's frustrating to come home with only five but we had other goals and checked a bunch of things off the list," head coach Amy Hogue said. "Our pitching staff was a highlight for me this weekend. They put us in position to win every game and we will be leaning on them going into the Mary Nutter tournament this Friday."

The Game
The offensive woes from yesterday bled into the beginning of today's game as the top of the order went down 1-2-3 on groundouts to begin the game. Sandez, in her fourth start and coming off a great performance at the La Jolla Invitational, stepped into the circle and retired the side in order striking out one.

The Utes were yet again sat down in order the next two innings to bring Sandez back out to the mound with no insurance, but she was in total control facing the minimum through three.  

Haley Denning recorded the first hit of the ball game laying down a bunt single and two pitches later, stole her sixth base of the weekend. Aliya Belarde put the ball in play and caused an error by the Torero defense to reach first. Belarde wasted no time taking second and the Utes threatened in the fourth with one out.

On her toes, Denning scored the first run of the game on a wild pitch, to put the Utes on top. The inning continued with Jimenez battling with the pitcher and taking the win by drawing a walk. CC Cook pinch ran for Jimenez and immediately stole second. With runners on second and third, Jordyn Gasper grounded to second scoring Belarde to collect her eighth RBI of the season. Elicia Espinosa kept the fun going lining a ball to right field to bring in another run.

As the energy started to pick up for the Utes, Leilani Melendez picked up a hit singling over the middle with two outs and Faulk ended the inning with a hard-hit ball to the second baseman who made a great catch as Melendez crossed right in front of her on the base path.

Utah closed out the frame with a 3-0 advantage over the Toreros.

Sandez showed off her fielding skills in the bottom half of the fourth scooping and under handing the ball over to first with her glove.

Ellessa Bonstrom drove in her 14th RBI with a shot up the middle to score Stella Bennett and extend the Utah lead, 4-0 entering the bottom of the fifth. The defense continued to remain stout as the Toreros were able to put a couple base runners on but couldn't convert.

In the sixth, Gasper led off with a single to right and stole the fourth bag of the game. Melendez placed a perfect ball right along the right field line, just over the first baseman and scored Gasper to give Utah the 5-0 advantage.

In the final frame, Melendez tracked down a ball down the right field line for the second out and set up Sandez to end the game jamming the final batter for a fly out to center.  

Up Next
Utah softball will have a couple days back at home before traveling to Palm Springs, Calif., for the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. The Utes will play five games in three days (Feb. 25-27) and will match up against the University of San Diego, UC Riverside, CSUN, UC Davis and top ranked Oklahoma.

All games can be streamed live on FloSoftball, powered by FloSports.
Fans interested in streaming the games over the weekend can find the platform on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Chromecast.

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