Softball Falls in Extra's Against Cal, 7-5
SALT LAKE CITY- After taking an early five run lead after two complete innings, Utah (18-17, 2-6) was unable to plate another run the rest of the game and fell to California (22-15, 4-6), 7-5, in extra innings on Friday night at Dumke Softball Stadium.
Shi Smith made her 12th start and looked strong through four innings only allowing one run in the third. Smith was pulled in the fifth after giving up a walk, a two-run home run, double and single to leave traffic on the bases for Sydney Sandez.
In the field, the Ute defense committed two errors in the eighth inning, leading to two unearned runs to score and give the Bears the lead late in the game.
At the plate, Utah saw their fourth best hitting performance posting 14 hits in the game. Six Utes had a multi-hit performance and Jordyn Gasper lead the team with her second three RBI game of the season.
The Utes are now just a game over .500 (18-17) and move to 2-6 in conference play.
Final: Bears 7, Utes 5
Cal got off to a fast start on Friday evening with back-to-back singles to start the game and a sacrifice bunt to move the runners over to second and third with only one away. In jam, Smith held her composure and pitched her way out of the inning fanning the ensuing batter and grounding out the next to end the frame.
The Utes did damage in their half of the first, scoring two runs on four hits. Down 0-2 in the count, Gasper lined a single to center and Ellessa Bonstrom followed suit hitting a single to the same spot in center. Team RBI leader, Julia Jimenez, sent another single up the middle to score Gasper and freshman Kendall Lundberg dropped a hit into shallow left field near the line to score Bonstrom and give Utah the 2-0 advantage.
Smith had a relatively clean second inning, hitting one batter but retired the rest to keep the Bears off the scoreboard.
Utah got right back to it in the third crossing three runs on two hits. Katie Faulk singled to right and was replaced by CC Cook as a pinch runner who was then pushed over to second off a Halle Morris sacrifice bunt. Aliya Belarde drew a walk and throwing error by the Cal pitcher loaded the bases as Denning reached safely. Gasper came up huge in her next at bat, shooting a bases clearing double into the left center gap to extend the lead 5-0 after two innings.
The Golden Bears plated their first run in the third after loading the bases. Sophie Jacquez showed off her strong arm, gunning a runner out at the plate to keep a four-run lead and Smith closed the door earning her second strikeout of the evening to end the inning.
The Utes picked up three more hits in the third but left two on base. Both teams were retired in order in the fourth and Cal tied the game in the fifth off four hits, including a two-run home run to dead center. Sandez came in to relieve Smith with traffic on the bases and struck out the first batter she saw, but gave up a double to center that scored two and tied the game at five.
Utah collected three more hits across the fifth, sixth and seventh innings and left all three stranded to send the game into extra innings for the second time this season.
In the top of the eighth, Cal plated two runs (unearned) off three hits as the Utes committed two errors in the frame. Utah had some life in their half of the eighth off back-to-back singles from Belarde and Denning with two outs, but a fly out to center would end the opening game of the series.
Utah is back on the diamond at Dumke Family Softball Stadium tomorrow afternoon for the second game against Cal. The contest is set to start at 3:00pm MT and can be seen on the Pac-12 Networks.