Softball Set for Midweek Showdown Against BYU
SALT LAKE CITY- Utah softball welcomes in-state rival, BYU, to Dumke Family Softball Stadium on Tuesday, April 5th, for a mid-week matchup. The game is slated to begin at 5:00pm MT and can be watched via live stream provided by Utah Athletics.
In their last meeting with the Cougars, the Utes dropped a 7-6 decision down in Provo in a game Utah scored four runs in the top of the seventh, courtesy of Ellessa Bonstrom who delivered a grand slam to take the lead entering the last half of the inning. BYU would respond in their last at bats, knocking a pair of back-to-back home runs to walk it off on their home field.
How to Follow
Fans can watch the game through a live stream that will be provided by Utah Athletics and can be found here.
Live stats will also be available for the game and fans can keep up with live game action by following @Utah_Softball on Twitter.
For the Fans
In a matchup against the BYU, it's only natural for tomorrow's game theme to be a RED OUT! Wear red and make sure to arrive early as Utah hats and visors will be given away.
A dirty soda bar will also be available during the game. Come on out, grab a flavorful drink and enjoy some Utah softball.
Scouting the Cougars (24-8)
- Under the direction of long-time head coach Gordon Eakin, the Cougars are off to a strong start in 2022 owning a record of 24-8.
- In their five preseason tournaments, BYU left with a winning record in three of them, split one and went 1-3 at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic.
- Notable wins for the Cougars include Stanford, San Diego State and California.
- As a team, the BYU lineup combines for a .318 batting average, 259 hits, 47 doubles, seven triples, 36 home runs and 189 RBI.
- BYU has outscored their opponents 211-94 and have been successful in 36 of 41 stolen base attempts.
- Six Cougars own a batting average above .340 and nine batters have picked up 15 or more hits on the season.
- Violet Zavodnik leads the charge at the plate batting .412 with 40 hits, 10 doubles, 10 home runs and 31 RBI. She is tied for second on the team with steals and sports the best slugging % (.825).
- Three pitchers on the BYU staff see the majority of the innings and combine for a 2.57 ERA. They have thrown 14 complete games, seven shutouts and have held opponents to a .239 batting average.
- Chloe Temples has been solid for the Cougars in the circle, earning the victory in eight of her 10 starts and owns a 1.96 ERA. She leads the team in strikeouts (78) and holds opponents to an average of .226.
- Autumn Moffat-Korth has made the most appearances (20) and starts (16), going the distance in half of her starts with eight complete games. In 87.0 innings pitched, she has a 2.90 ERA with 56 strikeouts and has given up the most extra base hits.
Last Time Out
The Utes were on the road this past weekend, visiting the Farm for a three-games series against Stanford and picked up a win. In game one, a grand slam from the Cardinal in the second inning is all the offense they needed as the Utes were only able to score two runs, both courtesy of Ellessa Bonstrom who earned an RBI single in the third and hit a deep solo home run in the sixth.
Sophomore lefty, Mariah Lopez, was given the loss after going six innings, allowing four runs on five hits, walking four batters and striking three.
Utah bounced back in a loud way on Saturday, taking the middle game of the series in a 11-2 run rule victory. The Utes posted their best offensive outing since 2019 with 17 hits to snap the seven-game skid against the Cardinal. Four Utah batters recorded a multi-hit game as all but two who had an at bat earned a hit. It was also the fourth time this season the Utes have scored 10 or more runs and the sixth run rule victory of the year.
Shi Smith started her 10th game in 14 appearances and had a strong outing, earning the win by only giving up two runs on five hits and striking out four Cardinal.
The Utes dropped the rubber match against Stanford on Sunday afternoon, 1-0, and were shutout for just the second time this season. Four players picked up a hit in the game but were unable to drive in any runs. Jordyn Gasper stole her eighth base of the year to keep her perfect mark alive (8-8) and AJ Militello joined Gasper stealing her ninth of the season.
Shi Smith started her second consecutive game of the weekend and looked strong through the first three innings not giving up a hit. Stanford chased Smith out of the game in the fourth after back-to-back singles and the only run of the game scored later in the inning, giving Smith her fourth loss of the year.
Team Stat Leaders (as of 4/4/22)
|Batting Avg.||Ellessa Bonstrom||.470|
|Slugging %||Ellessa Bonstrom||.892|
|On Base %||Ellessa Bonstrom||.591|
|Runs Scored||Ellessa Bonstrom||29|
|Home Runs||Ellessa Bonstrom||8|
|Stolen Bases||Haley Denning||16|
|ERA||Sydney Sandez||2.53 (91.1 IP)|
Pac-12 Conference Invidual Leaders (as of 4/4/22)
- Bonstrom ranks second in batting average (.470).
- Bonstrom is T-12th in home runs (8).
- Denning (.360) and Jacquez (.358) rank 23rd and 24th, respectively in batting average.
- Jimenez is T-5th with 33 RBI. Bonstrom sits alone in eighth with 32.
- Denning leads the conference with 16 stolen bases. Bonstrom and Militello rank 5th (9), Gasper is T-8th (8) and Belarde is T-13th (7).
- Sandez is 14th in the Pac-12 in ERA (2.53).
- Sandez sits in 10th with 72 K's. Smith is 15th (56) and Lopez ranks T-16th with 48.
Pac-12 Conference Team Rankings (as of 3/29/22)
- Leads the conference in stolen bases with 65 and stolen bases per game (2.10).
- Have converted 65 of 74 steal attempts.
- 2nd in the league in sacrifice bunts (17).
- Tied for 2nd with UCLA and Oregon in sacrifice flies (11) and just one behind ASU for the top spot.
- 6th in hits (246).
- On of the toughest teams to strikeout at the plate with the second lowest total of strikeouts as a team (126).
- 4th in walks allowed (40).
- 3rd in fielding assists (240).
- 3rd in putouts (611).
- Tied for 2nd with Oregon in fielding double plays (10).
- 3rd in double plays per game (0.32).
Pac-12 Conference Team Game Highs (as of 3/29/22)
- The Utes own the most sacrifice hits in a game with 4 in their matchup against Missouri State on 2/11/22.
- Tied with Arizona and Oregon with 3 sacrifice flies, took place in their game against Sacramento State on 2/29/22.
- Utah and Oregon have each recorded a game with nine stolen bases. Utah's coming against Cal Baptist on 2/13/22.
- Utah and Oregon combined for a tie with the most hits in a game (20) and are also tied for the top spot in total bases with 41, taking place at home on 3/19/22.
National Rankings - Individual (as of 4/3/22)
- Bonstrom ranks 19th in slugging % nationally (.892).
- Bonstrom ranks 10th in batting average (.470).
- Bonstrom ranks 6th in on base % (.591).
- Bonstrom is top-50 in the NCAA in RBI per game (1.00).
- Bonstrom is 53rd in total bases with 74.
- Sophie Jacquez is T-24th in the country with 11 doubles. T-35th in the NCAA in doubles per game (0.35).
- Jacquez has become one of the toughest to strikeout in the NCAA, ranking 49th.
- Teammate Katie Faulk and Bonstrom jumped into the national rankings T-29th with three sacrifice flies.
- Denning is 63rd in sacrifice bunts per game with 0.18.
- Denning is T-48th in the country with 16 stolen bases.
- Sandez has been spectacular in the circle ranking 5th in the NCAA in strikeout-to-walk ratio (10.29) and is 2nd in walks allowed per seven innings (0.54).
- Sandez is T-26th in the NCAA with 4 shutouts, fourth among Pac-12 players.
National Rankings – Team (as of 4/3/22)
- Utah is 16th in the nation with 68 stolen bases.
- 19th in the country in stolen bases per game (2.0).
- Top-40 (40th) in country in batting average (.306).
- T-6th in the NCAA with nine stolen bags in a single game. (2/13/22 vs. Cal Baptist).
- Utah is top-45 with a single-game high of 17 hits vs. Stanford (4/2/22).
- Ranks 20th in strikeout-to-walk ration (3.96).
- Top-50 (48th) in shut outs with seven.
Five Utes have strung together a hitting streak of six or more this season. Bonstrom and Denning own the longest at nine games with Bonstrom currently on a new one at five-games. Aliya Belarde owns the second longest at the moment at four games.
Utah has six batters with six or more multiple hit games. Again, Dennning and Bonstrom are atop of the list with Denning totaling 14 and Bonstrom with 12. Julia Jimenez and Bonstrom pace the Utes in multi RBI performances (9) and each has posted one game where they collected five RBI.
Bonstrom is the team leader with 16 consecutive games of reaching base safely. Denning and Jimenez follow with a streak of 14 and 11 earlier this season, respectively.
The Utah pitching staff has thrown seven shutouts this season, four of them belonging to Sydney Sandez. Sandez's shutouts have come against Missouri State (4-0), San Diego (5-0), UC Davis (8-0) and Seattle University (9-0). Sandez and freshman Hailey Harries combined for one against Sacramento State (13-0).
The other two took place on the same day at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. Shi Smith got the start in the first game against San Diego, holding it down for 5.1 innings and striking out five before Sandez entered to close the deal, 3-0. The following game, Lopez started in the circle against UC Riverside throwing four innings and allowing two hits while fanning six. Halle Morris entered in the final inning retiring all three batters to give Utah their fifth shutout of the year.
The Utah offense came out firing in six games this year to put the other team away in run-rule fashion. The latest happening this previous weekend on the Farm against Stanford in an offensive explosion by the Utes, collecting the most hits this season (17) and since 2019 to give them the 11-2 win in five innings.
The Utes secured their first run rule against Cal Baptist at the Kajikawa Classic scoring 11 runs in the first four innings with a couple home run contributions from Bonstrom and White.
Utah's second came against UC Riverside as they were able to score six runs in the bottom of the first. Bonstrom got the fun started blasting a three-run homer to left center as Kendall Lundberg and Elicia Espinosa also hit home runs, the first of Lundberg's collegiate career and Espinosa's second of the season.
A day later the Utes put eight on the board in the first six innings of play against UC Riverside as the pitching staff took care of the Riverside batters throwing a shutout to end the game in six.
The fourth and fifth shutouts happened on the final day of the Judi Garman Classic as Utah was able to put away Penn and Seattle U in five innings. The Utes put up an eight spot in the fifth innings against Penn to put the game way out of reach and scored four in the first and at least one in the following four innings to capture the 9-0 victory over Seattle.
The Utes posted their highest hit count of the season and since 2019 on Saturday against Stanford, finding 17 hits in the 11-2 run rule victory. This topping the previous of 16 back on 2/19/22 against Sacramento State and the most since March of 2019 at Arizona State when the Utes put up 18 on the Sun Devils.
Four Utah batters recorded a multi-hit game as all but two who had an at bat earned a hit. The Utes were led by Haley Denning (3-for-4, 3 runs score, 1 RBI), Jordyn Gasper (3-for-4, 2 runs scored, 2 RBI) and Julia Jimenez (3-for-3, 2 runs scored, 3 RBI and 1 HR). For Denning, this was her third 3-hit game of the season and 12th of her career while Gasper posted her second 3-hit performance of the year, second of her career. As for Jimenez, she entered into new territory recording her first 3-hit performance of the season and just the second of her career.
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 three teams in the nation to have recorded a triple play, but the fashion that the Utes rolled the play is rare. George Washington University and North Carolina are the only other schools with a triple play this season. 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 April 1st.
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 389-363-1 record and sports a 586-445-1 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.
Class of the Pac-12
Since joining the Pac-12 back in 2012, the Utes have had at least three players given All-Pac-12 honors except for the 2018 and the shortened 2020 COVID pandemic seasons. A total of 33 athletes have been selected all-conference, including the last thirteen who have been named to either the first, second or third team. The latest being junior Haley Denning and senior Ellessa Bonstrom, both securing their first All-Pac-12 selections.
Denning was given second-team honors after her standout year in the field and in the batter's box. At the plate, she led the conference in hits (75), stolen bases (31) and nationally ranking fifth and 11th in those categories, respectively. She also garnered five triples to finish 15th in the country. Denning led the Utes in batting average (.391), runs (46), triples (5) and multi-hit games (23). The 31 bags she took were the most by a Utah player since 2001.
Bonstrom earned her third-team honors pacing the Utes in multiple offensive categories barreling 14 home runs, collecting 42 RBI and finishing with clips of .623 and .408 in slugging percentage and on-base percentage, respectively. She ended the season batting .268 with five doubles, a triple and scoring 37 runs.
Haley Denning's post-season awards continued as she was named the 17th first-team all-region selection in program history and the first of her career. Denning was selected first-team NFCA All-Pacific Region after her all-conference performance throughout the 2021 season. Joining Denning as an all-region selection was Halle Morris.
Morris had a breakout season of her own during her sophomore campaign showcasing her versatility as a pitcher, infielder and clutch hitter. She was selected third-team in the Utility/Pitcher category and proved to be one of the team's swiss army knife and indispensable players. Morris saw action across the field playing at third, first, served as a DH and had 36 pitching appearances, the most of any Utah arm.
In the circle, Morris produced the lowest ERA among the pitchers (4.20) with 34 strike outs in 86.2 innings of work. She threw one complete game and had her best outing earning the win against 14th ranked ASU. At the plate, Morris had nine extra-base hits (four home runs, five doubles) and drove in 24 runs. She put together six multi-hit games and six muli-RBI performances.
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.