Mariah Ramirez and the Utes have split their first four games this season.
Feb. 8, 2014
TEMPE, Ariz. - Despite a late rally, the Utah softball team fell in a heartbreaker to Northwestern, 12-11, before a pair of home runs from Bridget Castro led the Utes to a 10-3 win over Portland State.
"It feels like 21 runs would give you two W's but we let that first game get away from us after we did such a good job to fight back," Utah head coach Amy Hogue said. "We fought back and couldn't close it out. But we continued to hit and did a better job spinning the ball and getting some easier outs for our defense. That was a tough loss, but to have that good of a comeback and see that much fight out of our hitters this early in the year is exciting. It's going to make for an exciting year and when we have days like today on the offensive side it's certainly not going to be scary to give up some runs knowing we can put that much run production together."
Down 8-5 entering the top of the seventh inning against Northwestern, the Utes scored six runs off five hits and an error in the top of the seventh inning to take an 11-8 lead. Hannah Flippen started things off by beating out a bunt for a single. Kate Dickman followed with a single to left field before Marissa Mendenhall sent a run across the plate with a double. An error on a dropped ball at third led to another run and kept the bases loaded for Taylor Jordan, who was hit by the pitch to send in another run. The game-tying run came off an RBI single from Bridget Castro and Flippen had her second hit of the inning with a two-RBI single up the middle before Northwestern got the final out of the inning.
Utah fell behind early as Northwestern took a 5-0 lead after the first inning. Utah put its first runs of the game up in the third, loading the bases with no outs after singles from Castro, Flippen and Trina Gomez. Dickman hit an RBI single and another run scored on a double play, cutting the lead to 5-2.
Northwestern added two runs on three hits in the fourth to go up 7-2 before the Utes came back with three runs in the fifth. Flippen had a two-out triple in the inning while Dickman also had an RBI double. Chalese Hadley also had an RBI single in the inning, cutting the lead to 7-5. Northwestern added a run in the fifth as the Utes forced the Wildcats into leaving two runners on base in the inning before the late-inning scoring barrage.
Flippen went 4-for-5 in game one with two RBI while Dickman was 3-for-4 with two RBI. Mendenhall and Castro each had a pair of hits. On the mound, Mariah Ramirez allowed five runs on four hits in the first inning while Sammy Cordova pitched four innings, allowing three runs and eight hits with a strikeout. Kayce Nieto, who entered in the seventh, allowed four runs on four hits with two strikeouts, earning the loss to fall to 0-2 on the year.
Against Portland State, Utah was down 3-1 in the third inning before a five-run scoring barrage gave the Utes the lead for good. After three-straight singles to lead off the inning, PSU got the next two outs before walking Anissa Urtez to send in a run before Castro hit a grand slam for a 5-3 lead. Utah added to its lead in the fourth inning by taking advantage of a pair of errors to score two runs before Castro hit a two-run home run in the fifth, her second of the game, to give Utah a 10-3 lead.
Flippen, Dickman and Castro each had two hits in game two, with Castro tallying six RBI. Nieto earned the start, throwing six innings and allowing three runs (one earned) with two strikeouts and no walks. She is 1-2 on the mound on the year. Cordova pitched the final inning.
"I thought Kayce did a nice job adjusting from game one to game two, and she gave us some better chances to pick the ball up," Hogue said. "Bridget was great all day. She's getting more and more comfortable. This is day two for her in her college career and it was a big day. It's going to be fun to see these freshmen as they get comfortable. They are putting up huge numbers already. Hannah had four hits in her first game as a leadoff ever, and comes out with four hits in the first game. They are doing amazing things."
Utah closes out the Kajikawa Classic against Colorado State on Sunday, Feb. 9, at 11:30 a.m. MT.