Softball Downed in Series Finale Against Wisconsin, 6-1
SALT LAKE CITY- Utah softball is still in search of their first home win of the season as they were defeated by Wisconsin 6-1 on Wednesday in the series finale. Sophie Jacquez and Haley Denning were bright spots in the Utes lineup this afternoon, Jacquez finished the game going 2-4 and scoring a run while Denning went 2-3. Jordan Gasper secured the lone RBI of the game lining her fourth double of the season to center.
The Utes finished preseason play with a 15-11 record entering their first conference series of the year, hosting the No. 11 Oregon Ducks this Friday through Sunday.
Final: Wisconsin 6, Utah 1
Senior Sydney Sandez got the start in the circle again for the Utes after pitching seven innings in game one of the series, hoping to put Utah back in the win column.
Despite the first two Utah batters getting out in the bottom of the first inning, Jacquez singled to left field and Gasper continued her hot streak at the plate to drive in Jacquez off a double to center, putting the Utes on top 1-0 early.
In the second inning, Sandez would battle to earn a crucial first out in a 14 pitch at-bat that resulted in a flyout to left field. Following a single and a hit-by-pitch, Sandez would remain unfazed by the Wisconsin threat issuing a foul out to first base. Denning recorded an infield hit to shortstop with two outs in the bottom of the inning but Ali Belarde grounded out to third base to retire the side.
Wisconsin would strike in the top half of the third following three straight hits and tying the game, 1-1. Catcher Katie Faulk flexed her tremendous arm again as she picked off a lingering Wisconsin base runner at first. The Badgers would score again in the inning, taking the lead, 2-1. Ellessa Bonstrom began Utah's half of the frame with a walk and advanced to second on a groundout. She would remain at second after Jacquez flew out to left field and Gasper struck out following a long battle.
Lefty Mariah Lopez would replace Sandez in the fourth after Wisconsin crossed three additional runs on four hits in the inning, extending their lead to 5-1. Utah managed to get a runner on base but couldn't make any further progress.
In the next inning, Utah applied some pressure on the Wisconsin pitcher as Jimenez reached on an error followed by Jacquez ripping a single up the middle. However, no runs were scored when Gasper sent a bullet to third that was caught.
The Badgers would record two hits to add another run in the top of the sixth, pushing their lead to 6-1.
Lopez shined in the last inning, dealing fanning two while giving up no hits or walks, totaling three strikeouts in relief. Starting the final opportunity for Utah was Denning who singled through the infield but Belarde followed by grounding out into a fielder's choice to reach first.
Bonstrom would then double to right field to extend her hitting streak to eight games. Both runners would be left stranded after Jimenez grounded out to third and Jacquez flew out to left field to end the game.
The Utes have now completed their preseason schedule and face off against the No. 11 Oregon Ducks this weekend, March 18-20, to open conference play. All games will be streamed live here and live stats will also be available.
The three-game set is slated to begin on Friday at 4:00pm MT, 2:00pm MT on Saturday and first pitch will be thrown at 12:00pm MT on Sunday.
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