Chalese Fankhauser went 3-for-3 with an RBI on Thursday against No. 17/21 Arizona.
March 28, 2013
SALT LAKE CITY - Junior center fielder Chalese Fankhauser went 3-for-3 with an RBI to lead the University of Utah softball team, but the Utes could not avoid a 6-4 loss to No. 17/21 Arizona in its Pac-12 Conference home opener on Thursday at Utah Softball Stadium.
Utah (13-15-1, 0-4 Pac-12) totaled 11 hits for its four runs, including Fankhauser's flawless 3-for-3 night at the plate from the leadoff spot. Fankhauser, a South Jordan, Utah native, has 24 hits this season for six RBI. She is now third on the team with six multi-hit efforts this season.
Senior shortstop Kelsi Hoopiiaina had two hits in three at-bats with and RBI and two runs scored, while Marissa Mendenhall was the third Ute to manage multiple hits after putting together a 2-for-3 effort. Hooppiaina has had two or more hits in 10 of Utah's games this season, while Mendenhall follows with seven multi-hit performances this season.
Sophomore left fielder Kate Dickman extended her team-high hit streak to seven games with an RBI single.
Junior Naomi Amu made the start and yielded four earned runs on 10 hits without issuing a walk. Unfortunately, the Oceanside, Calif., native saw her record dip to 7-6 this season.
Freshman Kayce Nieto made a relief appearance and allowed one earned run on three hits with one strikeout in 2.1 innings on the mound.
The Wildcats put up four runs in the top of the first, but the Utes then scored one run in each of its first three at-bats.
Utah came back with Fankhauser's third triple of the season to left-center field (and the fifth of her career). She then scored off an illegal pitch to put the Utes on the board and cut their deficit to three runs, 4-1.
Freshman catcher Shelby Pacheco started off the second with a double to left-center field before advancing to third base off a single by junior third baseman Taylor Austin. Fankhauser then launched a sacrifice fly to left field that allowed Pacheco to score for her fifth RBI of the year.
To start the third, Hoopiiaina doubled down the right-field line and was knocked in off an RBI single by Dickman, who now has 10 RBI this season
Arizona was able to push one run across in the top of the fourth, before Mendenhall cracked a one-out single up the middle of the Wildcat defense to start the home half of the frame. Fankhauser followed with a two-out single up the middle before a base hit through the left side by senior second baseman Jackie Sweet loaded the bases. Unfortunately, the Utes came away empty-handed after the Wildcats were able to get a groundout.
The Wildcats scored once more in the top half of the seventh to make it a 6-3 game. But in the home half of the frame, Hoopiiaina crushed her fifth home run of the season over the left-field fence to make it a 6-4 contest. The Riverton, Utah now has 19 runs driven in this year and 95 for her career to go along with 22 career round-trippers.
No. 17/21 Arizona (22-10, 2-2 Pac-12) was led by a 3-for-4, two-RBI performance by left fielder Mandie Perez, while Shelby Babcock improved to 11-3 this season after pitching 4.0 innings of relief and allowing one earned run on three hits.
The middle game of the three-game set between the Utes and Wildcats will be played tomorrow at 6 p.m. MT at Utah Softball Stadium. Gavin McCallister will have the play-by-play call of the action and live stats will be available at utahutes.com as well.
Saturday's finale has been rescheduled for a 12 p.m. MT start time.