The Utes traveled north to play in a doubleheader Tuesday afternoon and came away with wins in both games against in-state foe Weber State. Behind strong offensive efforts across the board, Utah improved its record to 16-16 on the year.
“Well it is two W’s for the Utes, and that is what we needed today,” said head coach Amy Hogue. “Putting up nine runs in both games was something that made me really happy.”
Utah started off neck and neck with the Wildcats in the first game. In the third inning, however, the Utes were able to crack the game wide open with a four-run frame. Freshmen Anissa Urtez and Bridget Castro both tallied RBIs in the inning, while junior Mariah Ramirez got a hit that brought in two more runs because of an error. The Utes finished off the game with three additional runs in the final inning, winning the game 9-2.
Freshman Sammy Cordova started on the mound, pitching four innings before being replaced by Ramirez in the fifth. Ramirez threw the final three innings without giving up a run and only allowing two hits.
In the second game, it initially did not look so good for Utah. Weber State started off strong, scoring four runs in the first inning thanks to a home run by Sara Hingsberger.
The Utes could not respond immediately, as they went the next two innings without a run, but they kept the Wildcats off the board from that point on. In the fourth inning, Utah finally showed some signs of life with some key at-bats from nearly the entire lineup. After scoring three runs, the Utes were within striking distance of Weber State.
The offensive barrage did not stop there for Utah. In the fifth inning, Ramirez came up as a pinch hitter with the bases loaded. She drove a single past the infield, driving in three RBIs to put the Utes up 6-4.
The Utes added insult to injury, putting three more runs on the board throughout the rest of the game, ultimately winning the game by a score of 9-4.
“We just trusted our talent,” Hogue said. “About 15 hits in four innings. That proves that we’re pretty resilient.”
Kayce Nieto started and finished the second game on the bump, throwing the entire contest. After the rough first inning, Nieto was solid throughout the rest of the game, recording three strikeouts and not giving up any more runs.
One position that seemingly changed nearly every inning was right field. Junior Marissa Mendenhall started at the position but was quickly replaced by junior Shelbi Everett the next inning. After one inning, she was replaced by senior Trina Gomez. After two frames with Gomez at the post, Mendenhall was put back in to finish out the game. Despite the craziness, Hogue believes there is a method to her madness.
“We have some players that we use for base running and defensive purposes,” Hogue said. “I love that we have that ability to do that. We have a bench full of players that can help us win ball games.”
Utah will next compete when it travels to Tempe, Ariz. for a three-game set against Arizona State on Thursday.