Utes dominate in doubleheader

Kristen Stewart at bat at the Utah Softball Stadium. — Erin Burns Colby Patterson
Kristen Stewart up to bat at the Utah Softball Stadium. Photo by Erin Burns.

Kristen Stewart up to bat at the Utah Softball Stadium. Photo by Erin Burns.

Utah continued its strong hitting streak against UVU in a doubleheader at home Monday.

The Utes took both games in dominating fashion, winning the first one 14-4 and the second 12-3. Both were called early. Junior Mariah Ramirez led Utah with five combined RBIs in the two games.

“We hit great today,” said head coach Amy Hogue. “We were patient, drew some walks and got some big hits. That’s the reason why we put up such big numbers.”

Coming into the day hot at the plate, the Utes’ 26 combined runs caused their average over the past seven contests to skyrocket to more than 10. Only one of those resulted in a loss.

“We are making sure that we hit our pitch,” Ramirez said. “Just being consistent at the plate, not swinging at balls.”

Hogue has always known that Ramirez, who batted in four runs in Monday’s first game, is a strong hitter, and Hogue is not surprised that she is doing so well.

“When she is selective, she is one of the best hitters we’ve got,” Hogue said. “She is one of those that goes to the game instead of letting the game come to her. She is maturing in the game and learning what pitches are her best pitches.”

The rest of the team had a great day at the plate as well. Junior Shelby Pacheco hit a homer over left center field to bring in two RBIs in the second inning of game one. She added two more RBIs in the fourth as Utah scored seven times in that frame.

“We’re having longer at-bats and seeing more pitches, and it has made us better hitters,” Hogue said. “We have been patient in waiting for our very favorite pitch, and then we don’t let that pitch go, we whack that one.”

Sophomore Kayce Nieto pitched four innings in game one and averaged one strikeout per inning. Freshman Sammy Cordova closed out the game in the fifth and recorded one strikeout.

Game two saw the same fate as game one. Cordova added five more strikeouts, and Ramirez came in and closed out the game. A five-run second inning separated Utah from the Wolverines, and the Utes held the lead for the rest of the game.

Both Hogue and Ramirez hope to continue producing the high amount of runs that they have been recently. Hogue also wants to focus on getting the defense to be just as strong, too.

“Defensively, we are due to shut down some teams in the early innings and have someone chase us a little bit,” Hogue said. “That’s one of the things that is on the list of our things we want to get better at.”

Utah will have another double-header at home today against SUU. The first game will start at 2 p.m., and the second will start at 4:30 p.m.