Five Utes Named to Pac-12 All-Conference Teams
SALT LAKE CITY – Five Utah softball student-athletes were named to the Pac-12 All-Conference teams this afternoon by the Pac-12. Senior Ellessa Bonstrom and junior Julia Jimenez were tabbed first team as junior Haley Denning was second team and sophomore pitcher Mariah Lopez was third team. Fifth-year catcher Katie Faulk, rounded out the five Utes being named to the Pac-12's All-Defensive team.
"What a day for the Utes! Five Pac-12 award winners feels fantastic," head coach Amy Hogue said. "These five athletes have worked their tails off and deserve every bit of the recognition they are getting today!"
Bonstrom, who's started in all 49 games she's played, has led the charge offensively leading the team in batting average (.380), slugging percentage (.729), on-base percentage (.511), runs (42), walks (31) and home runs (11). Bonstrom is having a career year seeing bests in runs scored, hits (49), walks, sacrifice flies (5) and stolen bases (10). The Tucson, Ariz., native heads the conference in sacrifice flies and ranks in the top-10 in the Pac-12 in batting average (10th), RBI (9th), walks (2nd), runs scored (4th) on-base (4th) and slugging percentage (10th). Bonstrom has put together the longest hitting and reached base streak this season at 11 and 24 games, respectively, while posting 12 multi-hit/RBI performances. This is Bonstrom's second All-Pac-12 honor after being named to the third team a year ago.
Joining Bonstrom on the first team and fresh off being named the Pac-12 Player of the Week, Jimenez is having a breakout year in her junior campaign starting in all 51 games. She is posting career highs in batting average (.335), runs scored (26), doubles (10), home runs (10), RBI (50), slugging percentage (.606), on-base percentage (.403) and stolen bases (4). Her 50 RBI leads the team and places her tied for fifth in the Pac-12. She is also seeing her best year in the field with a .955 fielding percentage and is sixth in the conference with 96 assists. Jimenez leads the Utes with 14 multi-RBI performances and is second with 15 multi-hit games. This is Jimenez's first All-Pac-12 honor and the second postseason conference honor of her career as she was tabbed second team All-Big Ten at Michigan last season.
The most dangerous runner in the Pac-12, Denning garnered her second all-conference second team honor starting in all 47 game she's appeared in this season. Denning has posted new career highs in RBI (11), sacrifice bunts (8) and fielding assists (81). She leads the Pac-12 in stolen bases (20) for the second consecutive season, ranking second in the conference in sacrifice bunts (8) and has collected 57 hits to sit in a tie for seventh in the Pac-12. The Phoenix, Ariz., native has strung together a nine-game hitting streak, a team leading 17 multi-hit games and has the second-longest reached base streak in the lineup at 14 games.
Picking up her first All-Pac-12 recognition, Lopez earned third team honors and has made substantial improvements across the board in the circle in her second season. With three games left on the schedule and 10 fewer innings pitched compared to last year, Lopez is having a breakout season owning a 2.89 ERA, throwing five complete games, tallying 77 strikeouts and has held opponents to a .245 batting average in 84.2 innings pitched. Lopez has started 16 games earning a career best seven wins and has thrown six games with five or more strikeouts.
In her final season with the Utes, Faulk has been named to the Pac-12 All-Defensive team and is the first conference postseason honor of her career. The Tucson, Ariz., native has instilled fear into opposing runners, throwing out a Pac-12 leading 12 would-be base stealers in 15 attempts. The 12 caught stealing is a career single season best to go along with a career high in putouts, tallying 244 to rank sixth in the conference. In her fifth year with the program, Faulk is seeing a career year at the plate batting .211 with an .389 on-base percentage, hitting five home runs and driving in 14 runs.
This is the first all-defensive nod for a Ute since 2017 (Hannah Flippen).