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Utes Defeat Wildcats in Ogden, 6-2

Apr 19, 2022

OGDEN, Utah- Utah softball (21-20, 4-8) got back in the win column on Tuesday afternoon, defeating the Weber State Wildcats (30-9, 8-0) on the road 6-2. This ended the Utes' three-game skid and snapped the Wildcats eight-game winning streak as Utah takes the season series.

Shi Smith made her 15th start of the year and spun a gem on the way to her sixth win, throwing her fifth complete game allowing just two runs on five hits while striking out eight batters and walking none. This marked the fourth time this season that she has struck out eight or more batters during her appearance.

At the plate, four Utes picked up a hit and were led by Jordyn Gasper who went 2-2 with an RBI and a walk. Julia Jimenez was responsible for three of the six runs scored, tallying three RBI for her 11th multi-RBI performance.

The Utes now move to one game above .500 (21-20) with two non-conference games remaining on the schedule.

Final: Utes 6, Wildcats 2
Smith was given the starting nod for the Utes this afternoon and in the top half of the first, Aliya Belarde got aboard off an error by the Wildcat short stop with one out. Ellessa Bonstrom stepped into the box and battled against the newly minted Big Sky Pitcher of the Week, Arissa Henderson, but struck out swinging and a throw down to second would catch Belarde trying to swipe second for the third and final out.

Smith stepped into the circle and made quick work of the top of the Weber State lineup, retiring the side in order and picking up her first strikeout of the game in the process.

Jimenez opened up the Ute half of the third with a leadoff walk and was replaced by AJ Militello as a pinch runner. Gasper followed laying down a sacrifice bunt to push Militello into scoring position with just one away, but the Utes were unable to convert with a pop-up and strikeout to follow.

Smith looked comfortable on the mound again in the second inning, sitting down the Wildcats 1-2-3 for the second time.

The Utes broke the deadlock in the third, scoring three runs on two hits. Denning got the ball rolling legging out a bunt to pick up the first hit of the ball game. Both Belarde and Bonstrom followed drawing walks and Jimenez took care of the rest, reaching safely off another error by the Wildcat short stop to drive in Denning and Belarde. Jimenez then stole her fourth base of the year and Gasper slapped a single up the middle to score Bonstrom and put the Utes out in front, 3-0.

The Wildcats threatened in the third, driving a shot into the gap for a triple with one away. But Smith shook it off and sat down the next two batters to keep Weber State off the board.

The fourth and fifth innings were quick work for both sides as they were each retired in order. Smith was in complete control through five innings, allowing just one hit and one base runner while striking out six.

As the rain started to fall, the Wildcats offense came alive plating two runs off four hits in the bottom of the sixth. Bonstrom saved a run herself, making an over the shoulder grab near the left-center warning track to hold the runner at second for the second out. A line drive to Belarde would end the frame and keep the Utes out in front, 3-2.

The Utes scored three more runs off three hits in the top of the seventh, giving them the 6-2 advantage. Jimenez picked up her second and third RBI of the afternoon off a single through the right side and Jacquez added the final insurance run sending a shot back up the middle to plate Jimenez from third.

Smith closed the door on the Wildcats in the seventh, striking out her seventh and eighth batters of the ball game en route to her fifth 1-2-3 inning of the contest. 

Up Next
The Utes are back home for a four-game homestand against the Arizona Wildcats over the weekend and will take on the Utah Valley Wolverines on Monday.

The conference series against the Wildcats will begin on Friday, April 22, at 5 p.m. MT and will be broadcasted live on the Pac-12 Networks. The middle game is slated to begin at 2 p.m. MT on Saturday, April 23, on Pac-12 Arizona and the series finale will start at 12 p.m. MT on Sunday, April 24, on Pac-12 Mountain.

Monday's matchup against the Wolverines will be available to watch via live stream provided by Utah Athletics and first pitch will be thrown at 5 p.m. MT.

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