Sophomore Marissa Mendenhall had three hits and three RBI on Sunday at the Easton Desert Classic.
Feb. 17, 2013
LAS VEGAS - Sophomore Marissa Mendenhall went 3-for-4 on the day with three RBI and junior Naomi Amu hit a grand slam to lift the University of Utah softball team to a pair of victories during the final day of the Easton Desert Classic Sunday at Eller Media Stadium.
The Utes beat Long Beach State during the first game of the day, 3-1, before downing host UNLV, 14-6, in five innings.
Utah (4-6) snapped its six-game losing streak by outscoring its foes 17-7 in the two games and compiled a .444 batting average, while its opponents went for a .306 mark.
In addition to her grand slam, which was her first homer of the year and the third of her career, Amu only allowed three earned runs on eight hits in 8.0 innings on the mound for the Utes.
Utah 3, Long Beach State 1
A defensive struggle highlighted Utah's first game of the day as Amu made her fourth start of the year and she did not yield an earned run and only five hits, while striking out two and walking two. It was her third complete-game effort of the season and picked up the win in the decision to even her record at 2-2.
Mendenhall went 2-or-3 with a single and double against the 49ers for three RBI, which was her second multi-RBI game of the year.
Senior shortstop Kelsi Hoopiiaina led off Utah's first inning with a single to right-center field, but the 49ers got on the board with the first run of the game in the top of the first frame.
The Utes took the lead with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth as Sweet started it off with a single to left field and both Kate Dickman and Fankhauser drew walks to load the bases and Mendenhall ripped her second single of the game to right-center field for her seventh and eighth RBI of the year.
Utah def. UNLV, 14-6 (5 inn.)
Five different Utes posted multi-hit efforts against UNLV as Utah carried its momentum into the second game of the day against the host Rebels as the Utes put up a season-high 14 runs on another season-high mark of 19 hits.
Amu started the second game of the day with an inning pitched, while allowing one earned run on three hits before Ramirez came on to throw the final four innings. She gave up four earned runs on seven hits to earn her second victory of the season.
Ramirez also kick-started Utah's offense by slapping a single down the left-field line for her first RBI of the season and the fourth of her career.
UNLV answered with a run in its half of the first frame, but Utah wasted no time responding as Katelyn Elliott led off the second inning with a single to center field and Shelby Pacheco laced a double off the left-field fence to put runners on second and third base. Pacheco now has three extra-base hits for the Utes this season. Hoopiiaina continued the rally by driving a single up the middle to drive across Sweet and Pacheco for her seventh and eighth RBI of the season.
The Rebels came back with another run, but a second score was denied by Fankhauser as she threw Samantha Juarez out at home plate on an attempted sacrifice fly.
Ramirez then tagged a one-out double through the right-center field gap and was driven in by an identical double to right center by Elliott. Pachecho and Sweet followed with back-to-back singles, while Ramirez came around to score. Amu was inserted into the lineup to hit in the No. 2 spot and connected on a grand slam to center field to give Utah a nine-run edge, 11-2. It was her first homer of the season and Amu now has driven in five runs this season and 15 over her Ute career.
UNLV put a third run on the board in its half of the fourth frame, but Utah countered when Gomez slapped a two-run single to left-center field for the first and second RBI of her Utah career and Shelbi Everett followed with another RBI single up the middle to drive in the Utes' 14th run of the day. The Rebels scored three more runs in the bottom of the fifth, but could not avoid the run-rule defeat to the Utes.
The Utes head to the Mary Nutter Classic next weekend in Palm Springs, Calif., starting Friday against Colorado State at 10:30 a.m. PT.