TEMPE, Ariz. — The Utes set a new season high with 10 hits and the University of Utah softball team defeated Portland State, 3-1, in the final game of the of the Kajikawa Classic Sunday at the Tempe Sports Complex.
Utah (2-2) outhit Portland State, 10-5, as junior shortstop Kelsi Hoopiiaina, senior first baseman Tia Palauni and senior designated player Joni Cook each had two-hit efforts.
Palauni went 2-for-2 with an RBI, while Cook was 2-for-3 on the day with a run driven in as well. Hoopiiaina also posted a double and single in the first two innings of play.
On the mound, senior Generra Nielson made her third start of the season and picked up her second win over the opening weekend of the season. The Blanding, Utah native did not allow an earned run in her second consecutive complete game. She yielded five hits to PSU, including only one hit through the first three innings. Nielson now owns two complete games this season and 13 over her Utah career.
Utah got off to a quick start as Hoopiiaina looped a leadoff double to right-center to lead off Utah's first inning then Cook cracked an RBI single up the middle of the Viking defense. A sacrifice bunt laid down by freshman Kate Dickman advanced Cook to second base then a PSU fielder's choice put the runners on second and third base. Palauni then hit a perfectly-place pop fly to short left field to score Cook and put Utah ahead 2-0.
The Utes added a third run in the third frame, starting with a leadoff walk by Palauni. Senior Hannah Clements came on to pinch run as junior Katelyn Elliott came up with a pinch-hit single through the left side of the PSU defensive alignment to put runners on first and second base. Freshman Marissa Mendenhall then knocked a solid single for her second RBI of the season. Mendenhall's first career hit gave Utah a 3-0 advantage.
The next three innings were scoreless before Portland State managed to push one run across to set the final margin at 3-1 in favor of Utah.
Portland State (2-3) got a 2-for-3 afternoon from its pitcher, Karmen Holladay. Holladay also threw a complete game for PSU as she struck out one and issued one walk.
Tournament play continues next weekend as the Utes will be in Las Vegas for the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic, starting Friday against San Jose State at 11:15 a.m. PT.
TEMPE, Ariz. — Junior shortstop Kelsi Hoopiiaina had two hits and two runs driven in, but the University of Utah softball team fell to UC Santa Barbara, 6-5, in its third game of the Kajikawa Classic on Saturday at the Tempe Sports Complex.
As the designated visiting team, Utah (1-2) tied the game in the top of the seventh inning when second baseman Jackie Sweet drew a two-out walk then Hoopiiaina blooped a single into shallow right field that allowed Sweet to plate the game-tying run. Unfortunately, the Gauchos were able to score the walk-off run in the bottom half of the frame after a play at the plate went in UCSB's favor.
Hoopiiaina, a Riverton, Utah native, went 2-for-4 at the plate with her first two RBI of the season on a solo home run in addition to her game-tying single.
Senior third baseman Whitney Holm drove in two runs during a 1-for-2 night at the plate. Holm, a native of Spanish Fork, Utah, leads the Utes with five RBI and four runs scored in three games this year and is tied for team-high honors with four hits. Holm now needs just one more homer to tie Niki Hayhurst (32 from 2000-03) for fifth place in school history.
Senior designated player Joni Cook and junior catcher Shay Wallace also registered hits for the Utes.
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