Sophomore Naomi Amu hit her first career grand slam Sunday against North Dakota.
March 4, 2012
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The Utes outscored their opponents 24-3 as the University of Utah softball team ran its winning streak to 11 games with an 18-2 win in five innings over North Dakota and a 6-1 win over No. 24 New Mexico on the final day of the UNM Invitational Sunday at Lobo Softball Field.
The Utes have won 11 in a row, 14 of their last 15 and sport a 15-3 overall record this season.
In addition to a 24-3 advantage on the scoreboard today, the Utes held a 20-3 edge in hits over their opponents, while hitting for a .370 average on the day, compared to a .077 for their opponents. Nine of the Utes' 24 hits were for extra bases.
Senior third baseman Whitney Holm was 5-for-5 in the two games to go with three runs scored and two driven in.
Junior Katelyn Elliott collected three hits in six official at-bats with a pair of RBI and two doubles. She also scored twice.
Sophomore Naomi Amu hit her first career grand slam, her first round-tripper of the season and the second of her career. She has driven in five runs this year and 11 over her career.
Freshman outfielder Kate Dickman hit two doubles for a team-high three RBI and also crossed the plate four times.
Senior right-hander Generra Nielson totaled 9.0 innings and allowed only one earned run on one hit, while striking out 14. Opposing hitters went for a .036 average against Nielson on the day.
Utah def. North Dakota, 18-2 (5 inn.)
Utah scored multiple runs in three of its first four at-bats, including a nine-run fourth that put the run-rule into effect. The Utes' 18 runs was a season-high output.
Utah extended its lead to six with two more runs in its second at-bat, starting with a bases loaded wild pitch that allowed Sandi Bowles to score. Shortly after, Hoopiiaina was awarded home plate after an illegal pitch was called on UND to give Utah a 6-0 edge.
UND cut into its deficit with two scores in the bottom of the third frame, but the Utes responded emphatically with nine runs in the top of the fourth. Holm started things with an RBI single through the right side of the Fighting Sioux defense then Chalese Fankhauser scored after a wild pitch. Dickman followed with an RBI double and then scored herself after Akins knocked an RBI single. Akins was later forced in after Hoopiiaina was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded before Amu connected for her first career grand slam and put Utah ahead 15-2.
Back-to-back doubles by Elliott and Jackie Sweet accounted for Utah's 16th run, before freshman Kendal Bergman nailed her first career homer, a two-run shot over the right-center field fence, to set the final margin at 18-2.
On the mound, Nielson pitched the first two innings against UND and faced the minimum six hitters. She did not allow a hit or issue a walk, while striking out four. Freshman Mariah Ramirez threw the remaining 3.0 innings and picked up her second win of the season, allowing two earned runs on two hits. Ramirez is now 2-0 in pitching decisions this year.
Dickman went 2-for-3 with three RBI, while Holm had two hits in two at-bats to go with two RBI. Sweet drove in a run as well with two hits and scored twice as well.
Utah def. No. 24 New Mexico, 6-1
The Lobos got on the board first with a solo home run by Shenise Cox off a 2-1 pitch from Nielson with one out in the first inning. Utah stormed back with six unanswered run to earn its second straight win when its opponents score first and is 2-1 in that situation in 2012.
Utah captured the lead for the first time in the top of the fourth when Katelyn Elliott looped an RBI double to plate Dickman before an RBI single by Cook gave the Utes a 2-1 edge.
The Utes earned some insurance with four runs in the sixth, starting when Elliott drove in her second run of the ballgame with a single to right-center before junior catcher Shay Wallace drove in two runs with a double to right-center field. Freshman Mariah Ramirez then connected for an RBI single to score Wallace and set the final margin at 6-2.
Nielson allowed only one hit in 7.0 innings against the Lobos, while only walking two and striking out 10. This was her seventh complete game this season and the 18th of her Utah career. Nielson has struck out 10 or more hitters seven times this season and 12 times during her Ute career. The Blanding, Utah native improved to 10-2 this year and 31-14 over her career.
Holm came up with a hit in each of her three at-bats, while Elliott had two hits with two RBI. Wallace drove in two runs as well with her sixth-inning double.
The Utes are schedule to host BYU in their first home game of the 2012 season on Wednesday at 3 p.m.