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Softball Ready for Final Preseason Road Trip This Weekend

Mar 2, 2022

SALT LAKE CITY- Utah softball is on the road for their final preseason tournament in southern California at the Judi Garman Classic. Hosted by Cal State Fullerton, the Utes will matchup against the Titans, Kansas, Texas A&M, Pennsylvania and Seattle University. The classic will take place Mar. 4-6 at the Anderson Family Field, located on the campus of Cal State Fullerton.  

Utah will close out the road trip with a double-header on Tuesday, Mar. 8, against Loyola Marymount at Smith Field. The games are slated to begin at 12:00pm and 2:30pm MT.

Judi Garman Classic Schedule

Date Time Game Live Stats/Watch
Mar. 4 8:30pm MT vs. Cal State Fullerton Live Stats/Watch
Mar. 5 11:00am MT vs. Kansas Live Stats
1:30pm MT vs. Texas A&M Live Stats
Mar. 6 12:15pm MT vs. Pennsylvania Live Stats
2:30pm MT vs. Seattle U Live Stats
Mar. 8 12:00pm MT vs. LMU  Live Stats
2:30pm MT vs LMU Live Stats

How to Follow
Fans will be able to watch one game live this weekend in the Utes opening matchup against host Cal State Fullerton. The game can be seen on ESPN+.

Live stats will be available for each game and fans can also keep up with live game action throughout the weekend by following @Utah_Softball on Twitter. 

Scouting Report

  • CSU – Fullerton: The Titans enter the weekend with a 10-5 overall record and are coming off a successful showing at the Mary Nutter Classic last weekend shutting-out #9 Arizona (1-0), took down #17 Northwestern (9-8) and defeated San Diego State (7-3). Their losses came at the hands of No.1 Oklahoma (10-0) and No. 12 Oregon (4-3). The Titans have outscored their opponents 75-26 while batting an even .300 with 15 home runs. Offensively they are led by Peyton Toto with a .581 batting average, 11 RBI and two home runs. In the circle, Myka Sutherlin heads the staff with a 3.08 ERA and 27 K's.
  • Kansas: The Jayhawks have an overall record of 7-6, dropping two of their last three games to Nebraska at home. Kansas has earned wins against Northern Colorado, Bradley, Fordham, GCU, SFA, Missouri State and Nebraska. They have outscored their opponents 76-66 and are batting .315 with 66 RBI and nine home runs. The offense is led by Savanna DesRochers with a BA clip of .478, two home runs and eight RBI. Olivia Bruno leads all pitchers with a 3.06 ERA and holding opposing batters to a .190 average.
  • Texas A&M: The Aggies have had a very successful preseason thus far with an overall record of 12-2. They have outscored their opponents 105-22, and are top-20 in the nation in team batting average (.337). The 7.50 runs per game ranks 12th nationally and are led at the plate by Haley Lee (.595) who ranks third in the country in BA and has driven in 13 RBI on 22 hits. On the mound, Makinzy Herzog highlights the staff with 39 strike outs and is top-5 in the country with a 0.23 ERA. The Aggie pitchers rank seventh in ERA in the NCAA.
  • Pennsylvania: The Quakers haven't seen much game action so far and own a 2-3 overall record. In the Ivy League Preseason Media Poll, Penn was selected to finish second behind Columbia and received three first place votes. The Quakers have a .302 batting average with with 35 runs scored and have captured wins against Hampton and Norfolk State last weekend at the Battle at The Bay tournament in Virginia.
  • Seattle U: The Redhawks have a 9-6 overall record and started off the season with a five-game win streak. They have outscored their opponents 68-60 and feature four batters with averages over .315, led by Lily Garcia (.361) who has two triples on the season. In the circle, Stefanie Madrigal has been great owning a 1.92 ERA, 27 strike outs and a 6-1 record. The Redhawks are coming off a rather tough weekend at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic finishing with a 2-3 record and wins against UC Riverside and San Diego.
  • Loyola Marymount: LMU has an even 8-8 record with notable wins against Iowa State, Long Beach State and Mississippi State. The Lions have scored 68 runs in 116 hits and are led by Alyssa Daniel with a .390 batting average and two home runs. Jenna Perez has seen the most action in the circle with 39.2 innings pitched, collecting 54 strike outs and a 2.12 ERA along the way. She's also held opponent BA's to .158 in her eight appearances.

Last Time Out
Utah softball is coming off another winning weekend, this time at the Mary Nutter Classic in Cathedral City, Calif. The Utes went 5-1 with their only loss against No.1 Oklahoma in a resilient battle. Utah took the Sooners a full seven innings, just the fourth time this year OU has played a full game, and held them to their lowest single-game run score of the young season (2). The defense was extremely stout making perfectly executed plays in tough spots during the game, including in the bottom half of the fifth when the Sooners were threatening with runners on first and second, no outs and the batter grounds into an incredible 5-4-3 triple play to end the inning. 

Aliya Belarde had a stellar tournament leading the Utes offensively batting .600 (T-1), with nine hits (T-3) and an on-base percentage of .625 (3rd).In the circle, the duo of Mariah Lopez and Sydney Sandez were spectacular. Lopez had an ERA of 0.64 (4th), held the opposing batters to an average of .158 (7th) and only allowed one run. For Sandez, she was seventh among pitchers in ERA (1.24), fourth in runs allowed (2), giving up only 7 hits (T-5) and lead the tournament with only one walk.

As a team, the Utes were second in batting average (.349), seventh in hits (44) and T-7th in RBI (25). Utah showcased the top pitching staff with a tournament ERA of 0.68, striking out 26 batters and giving up just three runs. The defense earned the top spot owning a fielding percentage of .993 with 93 putouts in 136 chances and 42 assists.  

Team Stat Leaders 

Batting Avg. Ellessa Bonstrom  .442
Slugging % Ellessa Bonstrom  .837
On Base % Ellessa Bonstrom  .544
Runs Scored Ellessa Bonstrom  14
Hits Ellessa Bonstrom  19
RBI Ellessa Bonstrom 18
Doubles Sophie Jacquez 4
Home Runs Ellessa Bonstrom  4
Stolen Bases Haley Denning  10
ERA Sydney Sandez 0.83 (43.1 IP)
K's  Sydney Sandez  33

National Rankings - Individual 

  • Ellessa Bonstrom ranks inside the top-50 in slugging % nationally (46th, .931)
  • Bonstrom also ranks T-19th in RBI with 18 and is the only player in the Pac-12 to be T-17th in the country with two sacrifice flys (leads the Pac-12). 
  • Bonstrom sits just inside the top-50 (T-47th) in total bases with 36.  
  • Teammate Katie Faulk jumped into the national rankings and is T-17th with Bonstrom with two sacrifice flys. 
  • Haley Denning is T-38th with 0.25 sacrifice bunts per game (4th among Pac-12 players).
  • Denning is T-18th in the country with 10 stolen bases (top of the Pac-12) and is T-37th in stolen bases per game (0.62). 
  • Sydney Sandez jumps three spots and is now #19 in the nation in ERA (0.65) and third among Pac-12 players. 
  • Sandez has been spectacular in the circle ranking 15th in the NCAA in strikeout-to-walk ratio (16.50) and is 10th in walks allowed per seven innings (0.32). Leading all Pac-12 pitchers in both categories.  
  • Sandez is T-4th in the NCAA with 3 shutouts, third among Pac-12 players. Sandez is also T-13 in victories with 4. 

National Rankings - Team

  • Utah is tied for second in the nation with 45 stolen bases. 
  • No. 5 in the country in stolen bases per game (2.81) and first in the Pac-12. 
  • T-4th in the NCAA with nine stolen bags in a single game. (2/13/22 vs. Cal Baptist). 
  • The Utes also rank 13th in fielding percentage (.982).
  • Utah is T-21 with a single-game high of 16 hits vs. Sacramento State (2/19/22). 
  • Utah's pitching staff has looked solid so far this season and ranks 25th in strike outs per game with 4.31. 
  • Ranks 17th in strikeout-to-walk ration (4.75). 
  • Tied for ninth in shut outs with six. 
  • No. 1 in the Pac-12 with 0.38 double-plays per game. 

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 382-355-1 record and sports a 579-437-1 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.

Set the Tone
The Utes set a new team single-game record in stolen bases with nine bags taken against Cal Baptist earlier this season on the final day of the Kajikawa Classic. Denning, Gasper, Cook, Militello, Gomez, Belarde and Bennett all joined the fun with at least one stolen base. Bennett and Gasper lead the charge on the base paths each taking two.  

A Classic 5-4-3 Triple Play
Utah is just one of two teams in the nation to have recorded a triple play, but the fashion that the Utes rolled the play is rare. George Washington University is the only other school with a triple play, but it came through the air as a 9-3-6 triple play. Against No. 1 Oklahoma, Utah kept the game within one run in the bottom of the fifth after issuing a ground ball right to third where Julia Jimenez fielded cleanly, stepped on the base and threw over to Belarde at second, then on to Bonstrom at first for the quickly turned triple play. 

It is believed to be the second triple play in program history, first on the ground and is the first in similar fashion since 2017 when Florida State executed one against Pitt on Aril 1st. 

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).