Softball Splits on Second Day of Judi Garman Classic
FULLERTON, Calif.- Utah softball was back on the diamond on Saturday at the Judi Garman Classic and earned a split in their double-header defeating Kansas 7-2, before falling to Texas A&M, 11-3. Senior Ellessa Bonstrom led the charge against the Jayhawks going 2-4 with a three RBI double and a two-run home run to tie for the highest RBI total in a single-game in her career.
Against the Aggies, sophomore Sophie Jacquez had herself an afternoon at the plate hitting two RBI doubles to give her seven on the season and the third of this weekend.
The Utes move to 13-6 with four more games on the schedule while in southern California. Utah will play another double-header tomorrow, matching up against Pennsylvania and Seattle U. With a day off in between, Utah will close out the road trip against Loyola Marymount in another double-header on Tuesday.
Game 1 vs Kansas
Following a late-night extra inning game to open the Judi Garman Classic last night, the Utes had a short turnaround playing the first game on Saturday morning. Mariah Lopez was given the start and after walking the first batter, zoned in and struck out the next two batters and popped up the third to bring the Utes up to bat.
Haley Denning batted leadoff and was immediately hit by a pitch. Aliya Belarde then laid down the sacrifice bunt to move her over to second. Ellessa Bonstrom was patient at the plate and on a full count, hit and opposite field homer, her fifth of the season to break the deadlock and put the Utes on top 2-0. Utah continued the inning and loaded the bases, but was unable to add to the lead grounding out to end the frame.
Lopez made quick work and held the Jayhawks scoreless in the second and third innings, already striking out five early in the contest.
Kansas broke through in the top of the fourth crossing one after a leadoff double to center and two batters later, another to trade places and cut the lead in half, 2-1.
The Utes responded in the fifth after Kansas committed two errors in the inning to allow a pair of runs to be scored as Jacquez and Jordyn Gasper recorded the RBI. The Jayhawks scored their final run in the sixth after Lopez gave up a solo home run to center. This ended Lopez's very strong outing where she went 5.1 innings, allowed two hits and fanned a season-best nine batters.
Utah blew the game open in the sixth as Bonstrom lined a shot to left center, driving in three runs for the 7-2 advantage. Sydney Sandez ended the game in the circle sitting down the Jayhawks 1-2-3.
A total of eight Utes all recorded a hit and the top of the order combined for sixth of the seven runs scored. Lopez earned the win and is now 4-2 on the year.
Game 2 vs Texas A&M
It was a tough outing for the Utah pitching staff going up against an offense that ranks inside the top-20 nationally in batting average (.337) and features the third best hitter in the nation, Haley Lee, who entered the weekend with a .595 average. The Aggies totaled five home runs in the contest, scoring 11 runs on 13 hits.
Four Utes earned hits (Bonstrom, Jacquez, Faulk, Bennett) including catcher Katie Faulk's first home run of the year.
Texas A&M took the lead early in the second inning after a leadoff home run to left. Started Sydney Sandez put that behind her and got out of the inning striking out and issuing to grounders for outs.
The Aggies added another run off a homer in the third to extend the lead 2-0. Utah finally crossed the plate in the bottom of the fourth off a Jacquez double to the center field wall that scored Bonstrom all the way from first and brought the Utes within one.
Sandez continued to control the game through the fifth and brought up Faulk in the bottom frame who crushed a clutch home run over the left center fence to tie the game, 2-2. But Texas A&M responded with a big sixth inning hitting two homers and scoring five runs on five hits, giving them the 7-2 advantage.
Jacquez doubled for the second time to bring in Bonstrom once again but Utah could only score one, making it 7-3.
The Aggies carried the momentum over from the sixth into the seventh and put another four on the board, putting the game out of reach for the Utes as they went down in order in the last half inning.