Softball Travels to Corvallis for Final Regular Season Series
SALT LAKE CITY- Utah softball (26-25, 8-13) is on the road this weekend for their final regular season series taking on the Oregon State Beavers (31-18, 7-14). The three-game set will take place May 12-14, starting on Thursday at 7 p.m. MT and will wrap up on Saturday at 1 p.m. MT at Kelly Field.
Since joining the conference of champions, just a single game separates the two as the Utes lead the series 14-13. Oregon State has won six of the last 10 matchups and have taken two of three in their last two home series against the Utes.
In their last meeting, the two split the four-game series in Salt Lake City as Utah was defeated on Senior Day, 8-3.
How to Follow
All games will be available to watch via live stream that will be provided by Oregon State Athletics.
Live stats will also be available for the games and fans can keep up with live game action by following @Utah_Softball on Twitter.
Scouting the Beavers (31-18, 7-14)
- Oregon State has had a successful season under head coach Laura Berg, reaching the 30-win mark for the first time since 2018. The Beavers own a 7-14 mark in Pac-12 play.
- After starting the season 3-3, the Beavers kicked it into another gear going on a 17-game win streak before losing to Portland state at home on March 12. Their first loss since February 18.
- Entering conference play, Oregon State dropped their first series to ASU (sweep) and won their next two, taking a pair of games from Cal and Arizona. It's been a tough stretch since, losing their next 10-games against Washington, UCLA and Oregon.
- Oregon State's lineup combines for a .280 batting average (8th in Pac-12), 376 hits (6th in Pac-12), 60 doubles (6th in Pac-12), five triples, 48 home runs (7th in Pac-12) and 217 RBI (8th in Pac-12). They have outscored their opponents 242-113 and have swiped 34 bases in 45 attempts.
- The Beavers are led at the dish by Frankie Hammoude who owns a .388 batting average (9th in Pac-12), 47 hits, six doubles, 12 homers and 34 RBI.
- The pitching staff is one of the top in the conference and combines for a 2.41 ERA (3rd in Pac-12), 31 complete games, 17 shutouts, giving up 113 runs (86 earned), 386 strikeouts (2nd in Pac-12), 25 home runs (Least in Pac-12) and have held opponents to a .196 ERA (2nd in Pac-12).
- A pair of Beaver arms see the majority of the innings. Sarah Haendiges sports the lowest ERA (2.01, 4th in Pac-12), throwing 10 complete games, seven solo shutouts, one save, 117 strikeouts (6th in Pac-12) and holds the opponent lineup to a .209 batting average (9th in Pac-12). Haendiges is 10-5 on the year.
- Mariah Mazon has the most wins (12) and innings pitched (136.0) on the staff. She's thrown 14 complete games, two solo shutouts, ranks second in the Pac-12 in strikeouts (171) and holds opponents to a .191 batting average (6th in Pac-12).
Last Time Out
Utah softball welcomed No. 9 Washington to Salt Lake City for the final home series of the season and won the first two games to clinch their first series win over the Huskies since joining the Pac-12.
In the opening game, the Utes defeated Washington for the first time since 2019 and snapped a four-game losing to the Huskies behind a masterful performance from Mariah Lopez in the circle. She made her 15th start for the Utes and besides a two-run home run in the sixth, Lopez held the Washington offense to just three hits while striking out four in her fifth complete game of the year. The win moved Lopez to 6-5 on the season.
Haley Denning and Julia Jimenez led the Utes at the plate, each picking up a pair of hits as Ellessa Bonstrom had her 12th multi-RBI performance of the season driving in three of Utah's five runs. Halle Morris was the only other Ute to find a hit in the ball game, roping a shot into the left center gap for her fourth double of the year.
Denning also swiped her Pac-12 leading 19th and 20th bag of the season in the win.
Game two ended in dramatic fashion as the Utes clinched the series against Washington in walk-off fashion on Saturday afternoon, 4-3. In the bottom of the seventh with the score tied at three, the top of the order came to the plate for the Utes and Denning led off the inning but picked up the first out on a batter's interference call.
Bonstrom followed getting hit by a pitch and Jimenez picked up a huge clutch time double to left center, bringing the Dumke Stadium crowd to their feet as runners were on second and third. Gasper was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Morris walked it off, hitting a high chopper to the short stop who couldn't handle it as Bonstrom crossed the plate to score the winning run.
It was a combined effort from the Utah pitching staff as three different arms made an appearance in the game. Mariah Lopez (7-5) earned the victory after entering the ball game to start the sixth and went 2.0 innings giving up two hits and striking out one. Sydney Sandez started for the Utes making her team leading 18th start of the year and was replaced by Shi Smith in the in the third after going 2.1 innings allowing one run, four hits and a walk while picking up a pair of strikeouts. Smith's outing lasted 2.2 innings as she gave up a couple earned runs off two hits and also struck out two.
Kendall Lundberg headed the charge at the dish, going a perfect 3-for-3 with a double in the afternoon. Julia Jimenez had the loudest hit of the game crushing a two-run shot over the left field fence in her first at bat, her 10th big fly of the season. Jimenez also added a double on her 2-for-3 day at the plate. Aliya Belarde, Morris and Shelbi Ortiz were the other Utes to find a hit as Morris and Ortiz earned an RBI.
The win marked the first time since 2017 the Utes have won three consecutive games over top-10 teams.
Utah was downed in the series finale on Sunday, scoring one run on six hits and left nine runners stranded on the base paths. Morris scored the lone run for the Utes, blasting a solo home run to left that tied the game in the second inning.
Southpaw Mariah Lopez made her 16th start of the year and lasted just 2.0 innings giving up one run on three hits, walking two and striking out one. Shi Smith replaced her in the circle and despite taking the loss, had a strong outing going 3.2 innings allowing two runs, four hits and striking out five. Sydney Sandez was the final Ute pitcher to make an appearance on the day, giving up two runs, two hits and walking one batter in her 1.1 innings pitched.
Team Stat Leaders (as of 5/10/22)
|Batting Avg.||Ellessa Bonstrom||.380|
|Slugging %||Ellessa Bonstrom||.729|
|On Base %||Ellessa Bonstrom||.511|
|Runs Scored||Ellessa Bonstrom||42|
|Home Runs||Ellessa Bonstrom||11|
|Stolen Bases||Haley Denning||20|
|ERA||Sydney Sandez||2.68 (122.2 IP)|
Pac-12 Conference Individual Rankings (as of 5/10/22)
- Bonstrom is 10th in batting average and slugging %.
- Bonstrom is 2nd in walks and is 5th with nine hit by pitch.
- Bonstrom sits in 4th in on base %.
- Bonstrom is 4th in runs scored.
- Bonstrom leads the conference in sacrifice flies with 5 and Faulk is T-2nd with 3.
- Bonstrom and Jimenez are T-15th in total bases (94).
- Jimenez is T-5th with 50 RBI and Bonstrom is T-9th with 42 RBI.
- Jacquez is T-4th with 12 doubles and is four shy of sharing the top spot.
- Denning leads the conference in stolen bases with 20 and Bonstrom is T-8th with 10. Militello and Gasper are T-12th, each with nine swipes.
- Denning has the most steal attempts with 24.
- Denning are T-2nd in sacrifice bunts with eight and Belarde is T-4th with seven.
- Denning is T-7th in hits.
- Sandez is 12th and Lopez is 14th in ERA.
- Sandez is 7th with 35 batters struck out looking and is 4th in walks allowed with 14.
- Sandez is T-4th in appearances (31) and is 6th in innings pitched.
- Morris is T-6th (15) in games in relief.
- Lopez is 10th with only 10 doubles allowed.
- Jimenez is 6th in assists with 96. Belarde ranks 8th with 89.
- Belarde is 3rd in fielding double plays (12).
- Espinosa and Ortiz are T-1st with a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage.
- Faulk leads the Pac-12 with 12 caught stealing.
- Faulk is 6th with 244 putouts.
Pac-12 Conference Team Rankings (as of 5/10/22)
- 2nd in the conference in stolen bases with 79 and 2nd stolen bases per game (1.55).
- Have converted 79 of 97 steal attempts.
- 1st in the conference in sacrifice bunts (29).
- Tied for 1st with ASU, Washington and Oregon in sacrifice flies (14).
- 4th in hits (387) and 6th in batting average (.291).
- 7th in triples with seven.
- 6th in walks (122) and 4th with 31 hit by pitch.
- 7th in on base % (.360).
- One of the toughest teams to strikeout at the plate with second-lowest total of strikeouts as a team (193).
- 2nd best Pac-12 team to have avoided grounding into double plays, hitting into just three on the season.
- 5th in batters struck out (285) and batters struck out looking (78).
- 5th in walks allowed (83).
- 1st in the Pac-12 with the fewest total of wild pitches in the Pac-12 (6).
- 6th in fielding % (.965).
- 3rd in fielding assists (383).
- 3rd in putouts (1000).
- T-4th in fielding double plays (13).
- T-2nd in Pac-12 having caught 12 runners trying to steal.
Pac-12 Conference Team Game Highs (as of 5/10/22)
- The Utes own the most sacrifice hits in a game with 4 in their matchup against Missouri State on 2/11/22.
- Tied with three other conference foes 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 California's opening game on Friday, April 8, saw the most at bats (72), hits (29) and doubles (6) between both teams in a game this year.
National Rankings - Individual (as of 5/11/22)
- Bonstrom ranks 71st in slugging % nationally (.729).
- Bonstrom ranks 32nd in on base % (.511).
- Bonstrom ranks 58th in walks per game (0.63).
- Bonstrom has climbed the national rankings and is now 12th in sacrifice flies with five. Faulk ranks 90th with three.
- Jimenez is 59th in RBI per game (0.96).
- Jacquez and Jimenez have become one of the toughest to strikeout in the NCAA, both ranked in the top-35. Jacquez is 22nd and Jimenez is 33rd.
- Denning is 81st in the country with 20 stolen bases and 88th in stolen bases per game (0.43).
- Denning ranks in the top-60 (56th) in the NCAA in sacrifice bunts per game (0.17).
- Sandez has been spectacular in the circle ranking 12th in the NCAA in strikeout-to-walk ratio (6.93) and is 9th in walks allowed per seven innings (0.80).
National Rankings – Team (as of 5/11/22)
- Utah is 36th in the nation with 79 stolen bases.
- 42nd in the country in stolen bases per game (1.55).
- Top-75 (71st) in the country in batting average (.291).
- T-8th in the NCAA with nine stolen bags in a single game. (2/13/22 vs. Cal Baptist).
- Utah is top-50 with a single-game high of 17 hits vs. Stanford (4/2/22).
- Ranks 31st in strikeout-to-walk ration (3.43).
- 76th in shut outs with eight.
Pac-12 Player of the Week (5/9/22)
Infielder Julia Jimenez was named the Pac-12 Player of the Week by the conference on Monday after leading the Utes to a series win against No. 9 Washington, their first series win against the Huskies since joining the Pac-12.
Jimenez was a force to be reckoned with at the plate, leading the team with a .500 batting average (5-for-10), hitting one home run, two doubles, driving in three runs and scored one run. She finished the weekend with a 1.000 slugging percentage, .545 on-base percentage and a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage playing third base.
In the series clinching game, Jimenez went 2-for-3 at the dish hitting her 10th home run of the year in her first at bat and second double of the weekend in the bottom of the seventh to put the winning run on third. This performance would give Jimenez her 14th multi-RBI and 15th multi-hit performance of the season.
This is Jimenez's first career weekly Pac-12 honor and the first for Utah this season. The last time a Ute received a conference weekly honor was back in 2017 (Kelly Martinez, Pac-12 Freshman of the Week) and is the first Pac-12 Player of the Week since 2016 (Anissa Urtez).
Pac-12 All-Conference Honorees
Five Utah softball student-athletes were named to the Pac-12 All-Conference teams on Wednesday 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.
This is the second all-conference honors for Bonstrom and Denning as they were named all-conference third and second team a season ago, respectively. For Jimenez, this was her 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.
Lopez and Faulk picked up their first all-conference recognition in their careers and marks the first all-defensive nod for a Ute since 2017 (Hannah Flippen).
Seven Utes have strung together a hitting streak of five or more this season. Bonstrom owns the longest at 11-games and Denning follows with the second longest at nine. Morris owns the longest in the lineup at the moment, currently on a five-game streak.
Utah has six batters with 10 or more multiple hit games. Denning is atop the list totaling 17 as Jimenez follows with 15 and Bonstrom with 12. Jimenez paces the Utes in multi-RBI performances with 14 and Bonstrom is right behind with 12. Both have posted one game where they've collected five RBI.
Bonstrom owns the longest reached base streak of the season with 24 consecutive games. Denning and Jimenez follow with a streak of 14 and 11 which took place earlier this season, respectively. At the moment, Jimenez and Belarde are each on a four-game streak while Morris has reached safely in five consecutive games.
The Utah pitching staff has thrown eight 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 Harris combined for one against Sacramento State (13-0) and most recently, Sandez and Shi Smith combined for an impressive mercy rule shutout against third-ranked UCLA (8-0, five innings). Smith entered in relief and went 3.0 innings giving up one hit, one walk and struck out two in the process as Sandez made the start and allowed no runs on four hits while striking out three in 2.0 innings pitched.
The final two took place on the same day at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. 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 seal 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 seven games this year to put the opposition away in run-rule fashion, the latest taking place this previous weekend at No. 3 UCLA (8-0, five innings). Three home runs were hit in the game as the Utes blasted a pair of home runs in the opening frame. Belarde got the fun started hitting the first homer of her career and two batters later, Bonstrom crushed her 11th big fly over the right field fence. Lundberg hit her towering homer in the fifth to extend the lead 7-0 as this marked the seventh multi-home run game of the season for Utah.
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 sixth run rule happened 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.
Pac-12's Most Wanted
Utah has established themselves as one of the most dangerous teams on the base paths in the conference, tallying 79 stolen bases. The Utes have four players with at least nine steals on the season (Denning, Bonstrom, Militello & Gasper). In comparison, the rest of the Pac-12 has just 15 players with at least nine steals. Utah and conference leader Oregon (81) are the only teams with four players ranked in the top-12 in stolen bases.
Haley Denning paces the conference with 20 steals in 24 attempts. Bonstrom follows in T-8th with 10 swipes while Gasper and Militello are in a tie for 12th, each with nine stolen bases. Gasper is one of two players in the Pac-12 that has at least nine steals without being caught.
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.
Your Usual 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 397-372-1 record and sports a 594-454-1 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. In 2021, junior Haley Denning and senior Ellessa Bonstrom, both secured 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.