Utes rally, but fall to Trojans in 10

Published: Monday, April 22 2013 12:15 a.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — Despite a comeback that saw the Utah baseball team rally from an early eight-run deficit to tie the game with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, the Utes fell to USC, 15-10 in 10 innings on Sunday afternoon.

USC took an 8-0 lead after scoring two runs in the second inning, followed by a six-run third inning. Down 10-2 going into the sixth inning, the Utes rallied for seven runs to put the score within a run, 10-9.

In the bottom of the ninth with pinch-runner Cody Scaggari and Cory Hunt on base with two outs, Braden Anderson singled to center field to drive in Scaggari and tie the game at 10-10.

In the 10th inning, USC scored five runs on three hits to come back and take a 15-10 lead. Although Tyler Relf singled with two outs in the bottom of the 10th, the Trojans got three fly outs to end the game.

"Our ability to come back was the bright spot of the ball game," Utah head coach Bill Kinneberg said. "We're resilient. I'm very proud of our guys for battling back and giving us a great chance to win, but ultimately we didn't get it done.

"[USC] had a whole bunch of hits and a whole bunch of base runners. Our pitching has been our strength all year, and it caught up to us today. Days like this happen. On the flip side, our offense came around and put us in a position to win in the ninth inning."

Utah had 15 hits and two errors, while USC tallied 22 hits and had four errors.

Utah was led at the plate by Relf and Wyler Smith, who each had three hits. Kody Davis, Trey Nielsen and TJ Bennett each drove in two runs.

Utah used four pitchers on the mound. Starter Tanner Banks pitched 2 2/3 innings in his second start back from injury, allowing seven runs on nine hits with two strikeouts. Luke West threw four innings, allowing three runs with three strikeouts. Josh Chapman pitched 2 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on three hits with a strikeout, and would earn the loss on the mound to fall to 3-2 on the year. Nick Green threw one inning, surrendering three runs (two earned) on two hits. He struck out two.

Down 8-0, Utah scored its first run of the game in the third inning on an RBI single from Davis after Hunt doubled with two outs. USC added solo runs in the fourth and fifth innings, while the Utes also scored a run in the fourth inning after three-straight hits from Relf, Smith and Bennett.

Utah had five hits and took advantage of three USC errors in the seven-run sixth inning. Relf and Smith started the inning off with singles before Bennett hit a double down the left field line to score Relf. Konnor Armijo and Hunt reached on errors to allow two additional runs to score. Davis hit a sacrifice fly, and Nielsen hit a deep infield single to plate two runs. Connor Eppard added an RBI double for the Utes in the inning.

Utah returns to the diamond at BYU on Tuesday, April 23, at 6:00 p.m. MT.


SALT LAKE CITY – Sophomore Mariah Ramirez went 4-for-6 at the plate and pitched 9.0 innings to help the University of Utah softball team split a doubleheader with No. 2/3 Arizona State in Pac-12 Conference action on Sunday at Utah Softball Stadium.

The Utes clinched their second straight Pac-12 home series victory with a 6-5 win during the first game of the day, but ASU came back to avoid the sweep with a 6-4 win in the finale. Utah also took two of three from No. 15 UCLA Apr. 6-7 in Salt Lake City.

Utah (21-24-1, 6-12 Pac-12) received an impressive versatile performance from Ramirez throughout the day. She led the Utes with four hits in six at-bats for a .667 batting average to go with an RBI in addition to posting a 3.89 ERA in 9.0 innings on the mound, allowing a total of five earned runs on 11 hits with five walks and four strikeouts.

Freshman third baseman Kristen Stewart took team-high honors with three RBI, including her fourth home run of the year, which gave her a 1.250 slugging percentage. The Covina, Calif., native has now driven in 14 runs this season.

Sophomore left fielder Kate Dickman extended her current team-high hit streak to 13 games, while senior second baseman Jackie Sweet has now reached base safely in 22 consecutive contests.

Game 1: Utah 6, No. 2/3 Arizona State 5

Utah clinched the series victory over Arizona State with a 6-5 win in the first game of the day, which was also the Utes' second straight series victory over a Pac-12, after taking two of three from No. 15 UCLA on Apr. 6-7.

Stewart drove in a team-high two runs for her eighth multi-RBI effort of the year, while Ramirez and junior center fielder Chalese Fankhauser both went 2-for-3 at the plate with one RBI apiece.

Freshman pitcher Kayce Nieto allowed four earned runs on eight hits in 5.0 innings of work, while walking two Sun Devil hitters to improve to 7-5 this season and is now 4-0 in 2013 in home games against league opponents.

Ramirez came on in relief for 2.0 shutout innings, giving up one hit and only walk.

The Utes put four runs on the board in the first frame. Senior shortstop Kelsi Hoopiiaina led off, but was robbed of her seventh homer of the year by the ASU left fielder, who reached over the fence to make a spectacular catch.

Utah kept the pressure on, however, as senior second baseman Jackie Sweet led off with a walk to extend her reached base streak to 21 games. Then Dickman and Fankhauser both singled to right field to load the bases for the Utes. Stewart then singled down the right-field line to push Sweet and Dickman across home plate for the first two scores of the game, which were also Stewart's 12th and 13th RBI of the season. Sophomore Marissa Mendenhall followed by rolling an RBI ground ball to the Sun Devils second baseman that allowed Fankhauser to score that doubled as Mendenhall's 20th RBI on the year. Ramirez kept the rally going with an RBI single to left-center field, for her 11th run driven in this season, as Dickman ran home.

Utah is now 15-5 this season when scoring in the first frame of a contest.

The Sun Devils cut their deficit in half with a pair of runs in the top of the second, but senior first baseman Katelyn Elliott started things off with a double through the right-center field gap of the ASU outfield, her third double on the season, and she advanced to third base after Hoopiiaina dropped down her eighth sacrifice bunt of the year. Sweet converted on the scoring chance by lacing an RBI single to right field. The Corona, Calif., native has now driven in 23 runs this season.

ASU scored a run each in the third, fourth and fifth frames to pull within a run, but Utah came away with the 6-5 victory.

Mackenzie Popescue was dealt the loss in the decision after giving up six earned runs on seven hits, while walking one, in 1.2 innings. She is now 16-3 on the year. Amber Freeman and Sam Parlich went 2-for-4, while pinch hitter Jennifer Soria drove in two runs.

Game 2: No. 2/3 Arizona State 6, Utah 4

The Sun Devils were able to salvage the third game of the series by recovering from 3-1 and 4-3 deficits to claim a 6-4 victory in the second game of the day's twin bill.

Ramirez registered her sixth complete game of the season on the mound in the second game of the day, allowing five earned runs on 10 hits in 7.0 innings, while striking out two and walking four. Unfortunately, the Hawaiian Gardens, Calif., native saw her record this season dip to 7-10.

Sweet then reached the game for the 22nd straight after hitting a single to right field in the bottom of the first inning.

After four scoreless innings, ASU finally broke through with an unearned run in the fifth, but Ramirez responded by looping her fifth double of the year through the left-center field gap. Pacheco looped another double to left-center that left Ute runners on second and third base. Hoopiiaina then lofted a sacrifice fly to right field to score pinch runner Sandi Fawson for the equalizer. Pacheco then crossed home plate after a miscue by the ASU shortstop on a ball hit by Sweet to give Utah a 2-1 edge. Dickman roped a double through the right-center gap that allowed Sweet to score from first for Dickman's second RBI of the day.

The Sun Devils managed to tie the game at three runs apiece after Alix Johnson homered to center field.

Stewart launched the second pitch she saw in the bottom half of the frame for her fourth round-tripper of the season off ASU's Dallas Escobedo to regain the lead for Utah, 4-3. Unfortunately, Parlich turned on a full-count three-run homer to set the final margin at 6-4 in favor of the Sun Devils.

Arizona State (39-7, 10-5 Pac-12) was led by a complete-game effort from Escobedo on the mound, who allowed two earned runs on seven hits to improve to 22-4 this year.

The Utes head south to Cedar City for their final non-conference games in a doubleheader at Southern Utah on Wednesday. First pitch from Kathryn Berg Field is set for 12 p.m. MT and live stats will be available at utahutes.com.


SAN DIEGO -- Utah Valley University bounced back from a 5-1 loss in game one to earn a 4-3 victory in game two, splitting the day and the series with the University of San Diego at the USD Softball Complex on Sunday.

UVU (27-17, 9-7 PCSC) and USD (21-24, 6-10 PCSC) alternated wins in the four-game, Pacific Coast Softball Conference series, settling for a 2-2 share of the weekend.

After posting just one run through Sunday's first 12 innings, the Wolverines got the production it needed in game two's top of the sixth. Trailing 1-0, UVU had runners on first and second with one away. Kylee Brinkerhoff lined a double into right field, bringing home pinch-runner Marie Williams and leveling the score. In the next at-bat, Dynasty Lauvai singled in another run to bring Jamie North to the plate with runners on first and third. The catcher delivered another base hit up the middle as Brinkerhoff came in to score. A throw from USD center fielder Dana Prelsnik got away on the play, allowing Morgan Summers, pinch-running for Lauvai, to reach home as well. When the dust had settled, the Wolverines found themselves with a 4-1 lead late in the ballgame.

Still, the Toreros got a run back in the bottom half of the sixth and nearly completed the comeback in the do-or-die seventh inning. The first three hitters of that inning all reached safely, with Chloe Kaneko providing an RBI single to cut the deficit to just 4-3. UVU pitcher Josi Summers then entered the game in relief of Tiffany Mills, but her first pitch skipped to the backstop. The wild pitch allowed both Prelsnik and Kaneko -- representing the tying and winning runs -- to move into scoring position with still no outs. With runners on second and third and little room for error, Summers struck out Schultz for the first out. She then walked Crawford, but on ball four, Prelsnik was caught straying from third base. The run down resulted in another out and Summers was able to get Mary Grabowski to pop out to shortstop to seal the win.

It was Summers' second save of the season while Mills improved to 13-11 on the year with the win. Brinkerhoff was the only Wolverine with multiple hits in the game, going 2-for-3 for the second straight contest.

"I didn't feel like we really made all the plays that we should have made," said head coach Rachel Hartgrove. "But we had the one big inning and we were able to hold on. Tiffany Mills through really well until the seventh and I was happy to see Josi come in and close the door."

UVU posted nine hits in game one, but struggled to push base runners home in falling 5-1. Amanda Robinson went 3-for-4 with a double and Brinkerhoff finished the game 2-for-3, but the Wolverines stranded nine runners in its second loss of the series.

San Diego broke the game open in the bottom of the third inning with a pair of RBI triples. Both Prelsnik, who came through with the game-winning triple in Saturday's win, and Caitlin Rooney delivered three-baggers as the Toreros tallied four hits in the frame and grabbed a 3-0 lead. The big inning came on the heels of a UVU top half in which the Wolverines left the bases loaded.

Looking to bounce back in the fourth, the Wolverines got back-to-back singles from Cortinas and Brinkerhoff to lead off the inning. But Torero pitcher Cassidy Coleman retired the next three UVU hitters in order, keeping her shutout on the board.

The Wolverines finally broke through in the top of the fifth with a pair of two-out hits. With two away and nobody on, Krystin Jachim singled and advanced to second on a fielding error. A double from Debra Lovell in the next at-bat plated Jachim and cut the deficit to 3-1.

But USD got that run back, and more, in the bottom of the fifth. Back-to-back defensive errors from UVU saw one run home before the Toreros added a two-out RBI single to set the final tally to the scoreboard.

Summers (9-6), who had pitched a two-hit, complete game shutout on Saturday, took the loss after going 4.2 innings and giving up 10. Megan Peay came on in relief, throwing 1.1 scoreless innings.

The loss was the first by more than four runs for the Wolverines since a 5-1 loss at Saint Mary's on March 23.

"We definitely struggled with USD's pitching this weekend," added Hartgrove.. "They have a really good staff; they kept us down and we just failed to adjust. Still, I thought a few of our players had solid weekends, particularly Kelli Fox and Brinkerhoff."

Utah Valley now returns to Orem for its final home conference series of the season. The Broncos of Santa Clara will visit Wolverine Field for a four-game tilt beginning Saturday at 12 p.m. MT.

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