Ashley Smuda pitched 12 innings and earned two victories for the Utes on Friday at the Red Desert Classic.
Feb. 12, 2010
ST. GEORGE, Utah - The University of Utah softball team opened its 2010 season by shutting out San Jose State 8-0 in five innings and coming back to defeat Northern Colorado, 6-5, Friday at the Canyons Softball Complex.
"It was fun to win two ball games in two completely different ways," Utah head coach Amy Hogue said. "In game one, we came out and executed every part of our game plan very well. In game two, we had our backs to the wall and we had to fight until the last out and we got to see how we can win with guts. That win showed a great deal of maturity that this group has in order to come through with a win like that. Both games gave us a lot of confidence going into tomorrow."
Utah (2-0) outhit its opponents .362 to .192 on the day and pounded seven home runs.
"I didn't even know we hit that many," Hogue said. "All I know is that they were seeing the ball well and swinging hard at their pitches. Even when we were struggling a little bit on defense, when you are swinging the bats well it takes some pressure off of us because we know as long as we have a few more outs, we have more opportunities."
Senior center fielder Kara Foster went 4-for-5 at the plate, including a pair of two-run home runs. The Derby, Kan., extended her Utah career home run record total to 55 and is now fourth in school history with 133 career runs batted in.
Senior right-handed pitcher Ashley Smuda threw 12 innings in the two games, allowing two earned runs on eight hits with 10 strikeouts.
"Ashley Smuda was one of many highlights on the day," Hogue said. "She really did everything she needed to do during the offseason to come in and make some adjustments from last year to this year. I was proud of her and we'll get ready to go on the mound tomorrow."
Smuda threw her 27th complete game, going five innings and allowing three hits while striking out five in her first appearance of the season.
The Utes struck early as Olson led off the game with a single up the middle then Foster nailed her first home run of the season over the left-center field wall, the 54th of her career, for a 2-0 advantage.
Utah broke the game wide open with back-to-back home runs to spur on a four-run third inning. Olson led off the inning with a bunt single then was driven in by Foster's school-record-holding 55th career home run, another two-run shot, to put the Utes ahead 4-0. A pair of Ute solo shots followed to give Utah a 6-0 edge as junior Jasey Jensen blasted her fifth career home run as a Ute followed by a home run to left field by sophomore shortstop Tia Palauni, the third homer of her brief career at Utah.
The Utes tacked on one run apiece in the fourth and fifth innings as Lindsey Palmer drew a leadoff walk in the fourth and later scored on an RBI ground ball by Hannah Clements. Utah's patience at the plate continued into the fifth inning as the Utes drew three straight walks and Jensen eventually scored on a wild pitch to give Utah the run-rule 8-0 victory in the fifth inning.
Utah 6, Northern Colorado 5
With one out in the Utah half of the seventh inning and the score tied at five runs apiece, sophomore second baseman Tia Palauni lined a walk-off single down the left-field line to give the Utes the 6-5 win.
"We had two more outs and opportunities to score runs in that last game and that was enough," Hogue said. "We had the heart of our lineup coming to bat and they had enough looks at that pitcher to go in with confidence and a lot of people stepped up."
Utah trailed heading into the final frame after UNC put together two runs on one hit in its half of the sixth inning. But the Utes fought back hard to start the bottom of the seventh inning as Whitney Holm connected on her first home run of the season to even the game at 5-5.
Olson hit her second home run of the day over the left-field fence to equal her total from last season.
The Utes also came up with big defensive efforts throughout the game as well as Foster made a diving catch to her right to make a catch and ended up landing in the infield dirt to rob UNC's Jessie Schoepflin of an RBI base hit.
In total, UNC left 10 runners on base but five of those occurred in the first three innings of the game.
Utah continues its Red Desert Classic schedule with a doubleheader tomorrow against Idaho State (11 a.m.) and Seattle (4 p.m.) at the Canyons Softball Complex.