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Softball Set for Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic

Feb 24, 2022

SALT LAKE CITY- Utah softball (7-4) is on the road again for the third consecutive weekend, this time traveling to Palm Springs, Calif., to compete at the Marry Nutter Collegiate Classic Feb. 25-27. The Utes will play another five-game slate over three days with matchups against the University of San Diego (6-6), UC Riverside, CSUN, UC Davis and #1 Oklahoma.

How to Follow
Taking place at the Big League Dreams Complex, all games will be streamed live on FLOSOFTBALL. A subscription is necessary to stream the games. Live stats will also be available for each game and fans can also keep up with live game action throughout the weekend by following @Utah_Softball on Twitter.

Fans planning on attending the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic can purchase tickets here. With various tickets options available, tournament adult day tickets start at $32.00 and a tournament pass for the entire weekend can be purchased for $85.00.

Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic Schedule

Date Game Live Stats/Watch
Feb. 25 11:30am MT - San Diego vs. Utah Live Stats/Watch
4:30pm MT - UC Riverside vs. Utah Live Stats/Watch
Feb. 26 1:00pm MT - CSUN vs. Utah Live Stats/Watch
6:30pm MT - Utah vs. UC Davis  Live Stats/Watch
Feb. 27 10:00am MT - Utah vs. #1 Oklahoma  Live Stats/Watch

Bold denotes home team. 

Last Time Out
Coming up just short of their goal of going undefeated last weekend in San Diego, the Utes won five of their six scheduled games, which included two shut-outs.

Utah opened the weekend with two victories against Saint Mary's and Sacramento State on Friday. Utah held a comfortable 8-1 lead in the Sacramento State game but let their foot off the gas a little but allowing seven runs to be scored in the sixth and seventh innings. Being out hit 12-9, the Utes were able to hold on to the lead and win the game 9-8.

Utah certainly bounced back from their late game collapse in the second matchup against Sacramento State on Saturday as Sydney Sandez led the charge going six innings, striking out five and giving up zero runs. The offense showed out scoring 13 runs on 16 hits while the Hornet offense was only able to get three hits.

In their next game against tournament host UC San Diego, the Tritons battled the majority of the game with a 1-1 tie heading into the top of the sixth. Jimenez then put the Utes on top with a single through the right side to score Bonstrom and Jacquez added on with a double to score Cook and give Utah the 3-1 advantage. Sandez came out to the circle in the bottom half of the seventh and shut the door on the hornets striking out one and issuing two ground outs to end the game.

Utah dropped their only game on Sunday against Saint Mary's, 0-1, as the offense simply couldn't get anything going. The Utes threatened multiple times throughout the game leaving 11 runners on base, including one bases loaded situation in the top of the fifth. A bright spot in the game was lefty Mariah Lopez. She threw a complete game striking out a season best eight batters and only allowing one run to score.

Facing a little adversity, Utah bounced back in dominating fashion on Monday against the University of San Diego. Sandez completed her stellar weekend with another win and her second complete game shutout of the season. Sandez fanned four and gave up just four hits during the outing. Offensively, the woes bled into the beginning of the game but the bats came alive in the fourth scoring three runs. Utah was able to score five runs on seven hits to close the weekend with a win, 5-0.

Team Stat Leaders (Through first two weekends) 

Batting Avg. Ellessa Bonstrom  .483
Slugging % Ellessa Bonstrom  .931
On Base % Ellessa Bonstrom  .575
Runs Scored Ellessa Bonstrom  10
Hits Ellessa Bonstrom  14
RBI Ellessa Bonstrom 14
Doubles Sophie Jacquez 3
Home Runs Ellessa Bonstrom  3
Stolen Bases Haley Denning  8
ERA Sydney Sandez 0.44 (32.0 IP)
K's  Sydney Sandez  26

National Rankings - Individual 

  • Ellessa Bonstrom ranks inside the top-50 in slugging % nationally (46th, .931)
  • Bonstrom also ranks T-15th in RBI with 14 and is the only player in the Pac-12 to be T-11th in the country with two sacrifice flys. 
  • Haley Denning is T-19th 0.36 sacrifice bunts per game (2nd among Pac-12 players).
  • Denning and Stella Bennett are T-14 & T-32 in the country, respectively in stolen bases. Denning has eight while Bennett has collected six bags.  
  • Sydney Sandez ranks #22 in the nation in ERA (0.44) and third among Pac-12 players. 
  • Sandez is T-6th in the NCAA with 2 shutouts, third among Pac-12 players. Sandez is also T-13 in victories with 4. 

National Rankings - Team

  • Utah leads the nation with 36 stolen bases
  • No. 5 in the country in stolen bases per game (3.27).
  • The Utes also rank 23rd in fielding percentage (.981).
  • Utah's pitching staff has looked solid so far this season and ranks 25th in strike outs per game with 4.31. 

 A Graduate and a "Super Senior"
Kaite Faulk announced last spring the will return to Utah for her "Super Senior" season. Graduating with her degree in in kinesiology in May 2021, Faulk comes back as the primary catcher after starting 128 times at the position in her career. In 2021, she batted .202 with two doubles, four homeruns and 12 RBI. She also had four multi-hit games and a seven-game hitting streak.

Off the field, Faulk is a two-time Pac-12 All-Academic selection and in 2021 was named to the Pac-12 Academic Honor Roll. She has served with fellow Utah student-athletes on the Crimson Council years, including as President in 2020-21 after a term as Vice President the year before. Faulk has also led the organization's Mental Health sub-committee and continues to be part of the Wellness Ambassadors group, focusing on expanding the organization's "Unmuted" mental health campaign.  

Head Coach Amy Hogue | 15th Year ('94)
Amy Hogue is in her 15th season at the helm of her alma mater in 2022, and her 23rd season affiliated with the Utah softball program. Hogue, who was inducted into the Utah Athletics Hall of Fame in the Class of 2020, has made an incredible impact on the program as a student-athlete (1991-1994), assistant coach (1996-1999) and head coach (2008-present). In 14 seasons as the head coach, Hogue has a 378-354-1 record and sports a 575-436-1 overall mark in 20 years as a collegiate head coach.

  • All-time wins leader at Utah
  • 2015 Pac-12 Coach of the Year
  • Led Utah to three consecutive NCAA Tournament berths
  • Back-to-back Super Regionals (2016, 2017) for first time in program history.
  • Guided Utah to a 37-16 record in 2017, its best record since 1997.
  • Also had its best mark in the Pac-12 (13-9) since joining the conference in 2012.
  • Attained the program's highest NFCA final ranking at No. 14 in 2017.
  • Utah Athletics Department's 2014-15 Don Reddish Award recipient.
  • Set a program record in 2017 with five players on the NFCA All-Region teams and six earned postseason Pac-12 honors.
  • Coached the only 3x All-American in program history (Hannah Flippen), who was also named Pac-12 Player of the Year, the first since joining the conference and fifth in Utah softball history.

New Year, New Utes
A total of six newcomers join the Utes for the 2022 season. Two of them being freshman and four joining by way of transfer. Notable additions include graduate transfer Shi Smith, who brings a ton of experience to the pitching staff after spending four seasons at Seattle University. Smith currently holds Seattle U career records for strikeouts per seven innings (7.45) and opponent batting average (.231). She led the team with 31 appearances and was named first-team All-WAC in 2021 after posting an ERA of 3.24 and leading the team with 114 strikeouts.

Infielder Julia Jimenez is another impactful transfer from the Michigan program. Jimenez was named second-team All-Big Ten and started all 46 games for the Wolverines in 2021. She brings a hot bat to the plat as she tallied a season-long seven-game hit streak and posted career highs in all offensive categories, including a batting average of .293.

Haley Denning
Destiny White
AJ Militello
Madi Jacobus

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