Junior shortstop Kelsi Hoopiiaina leads Utah with 18 extra-base hits this season.
April 27, 2012
SALT LAKE CITY - Junior shortstop Kelsi Hoopiiaina had two hits in three at-bats with a run scored, but the University of Utah softball team opened its Pac-12 Conference series against No. 23 Oregon State with a 10-2 loss on Friday at Ute Field.
The Utah (25-22, 0-16 Pac-12) offense was led by Hoopiiaina, who had two hits in three at-bats with a run scored. Hoopiiaina drove Utah's lone extra-base hit of the contest, a double in the third, which was her team-leading 10th double of the season. The Riverton, Utah native now leads the team with 18 extra-base hits in 2012. She also drew a walk and stole a base to move to 16-for-16 on steal attempts this season, a mark that also leads the team.
Junior Katelyn Elliott, freshman Kate Dickman and Hannah Clements each recorded singles for the Utes. Elliott also drove in a pair of runs and is now third on the team with 22 RBI this year. For her career, she has driven in 28 runs over her career. She is now the team's longest current hit streak as she has recorded hits in each of her last five games.
Senior Generra Nielson started her 36th game this season, but unfortunately suffered her 15th loss of the year after throwing 6.0 innings and allowing three earned runs on six hits to go with six strikeouts. The Blanding, Utah native has struck out 260 hitters this year and 458 over her Ute career. Despite only in her second season at Utah, Nielson ranks fifth in school history in strikeouts and needs just 12 more to pass Meghan Dyer (2006-07) and move into fourth.
Hoopiiaina led off the game with a bloop single to left-center. She then took second after stealing her 16th base of the season and advanced to third base off a fly ball hit to right field by Holm. Elliott then cracked a line drive off the glove of the OSU shortstop that allowed Hoopiiaina to score for third base.
Utah has now crossed the plate in the first frame for the 17th time this season and sports an 11-6 record in those contests. Utah has been the first to score in 24 games in 2012 and owns an 18-6 mark in those games.
Oregon State's Desiree Beltran answered by lacing a solo home run over the left-center field fence in the top of the second to tie the game at one run apiece.
In the third frame, Hoopiiaina once again led off by smacking a double over the OSU center fielder's head, but the Beavers were able to get a pop out, foul out and ground out to end the threat.
Dickman hit a perfectly-placed ground ball single between the Beavers' first and second basemen to lead off Utah's fourth frame. Freshman Marissa Mendenhall and pinch hitter Joni Cook were both hit by pitches to load the bases with one out for Hoopiiaina. Unfortunately, OSU was able to turn a double-play to keep the game knotted at one run apiece.
Unfortunately, the Beavers were able to score nine unanswered runs over the next three innings, including seven in the seventh, to take a 10-1 lead.
The Utes threatened in the seventh as Clements singled through the left side of the OSU defense. With one out, Hoopiiaina and senior first baseman Tia Palauni drew back-to-back walks to load the bases. Elliott was able to hit a ground ball to the Beaver second baseman that allowed Hoopiiaina to cross home plate.
Oregon State (32-15, 7-8 Pac-12) pitcher Paige Hall came on for four innings of relief and picked up the win to improve her record to 14-2 this season.
The Utes continue their series with the Beavers tomorrow at 4 p.m. MT. Follow along with the live stats and listen to the play-by-play call at utahutes.com.