Senior second baseman Jackie Sweet hit a three-run homer Friday against No. 17/21 Arizona.
March 29, 2013
SALT LAKE CITY - Senior second baseman Jackie Sweet cracked a three-run home run, but the University of Utah softball team fell to No. 17/21 Arizona 6-5 in 11 innings on Friday during the middle game of its Pac-12 Conference series at Utah Softball Stadium.
Utah (13-16-1, 0-5 Pac-12) dropped to 1-2 in extra-inning contests this season, as the Ute defense continued to be opportunistic as it set a new school record with four double plays, which ties three others for second place in NCAA history (Fresno State against Pacific (11 inn.) on Feb. 28, 1989; Arkansas against Alabama on Mar. 21, 1999; UAB vs. Saint Louis on May 10, 2001). The NCAA record is five turned by Alabama vs. Texas on May 17, 1999.
At the plate, Sweet and sophomore left fielder Kate Dickman continued their hot streaks at the plate.
Sweet turned in her second multi-hit performance in the last three games with a 2-for-5 night with a season-high three RBI thanks to a three-run home run, her first round-tripper of the season, and a one-out single through the left side in the first frame. She extended her hit streak to six games and now has 10 RBI this season and has 50 over her career to go with 11 career home runs. This was also Sweet's third multi-RBI game of the year.
"We've had some seniors who have hit the ball really hard over the last couple of days," Utah Head Coach Amy Hogue said. "But we have to find a way to close a ball game out. We talked about not giving up a big inning and we gave up a big inning. But if we did give one up, we knew it was our turn to get a big inning. To answer the way we did was a big deal for us and then to be right back in it and not get it done is just heartbreaking."
Dickman extended her team-high hit streak to eight games with an RBI triple in the third to kick off the scoring, it was her second triple this season and third of her career. She has 12 RBI this season and 33 for her career. She now has seven multi-hit efforts this year.
The Utes are second in the Pac-12 with eight triples in 2013.
Sophomore right-hander Mariah Ramirez put together an impressive 11-inning performance on the mound, allowing four earned runs on 11 hits with four strikeouts on five walks in her fourth complete-game effort of 2013. Unfortunately, the Hawaiian Gardens, Calif., native saw her record drop to 4-6 this season.
"Maya pitched with a lot of guts," Hogue said. "(Arizona) earned four runs and we earned five so we should have won five so we should have won that game for her. I'm disappointed we couldn't find a way to win because I thought she earned a win."
In the second frame, sophomore designated player Marissa Mendenhall drew a one-out walk and senior first baseman Katelyn Elliott slapped a base hit through the right side of the Wildcat defense. Freshman third baseman Kristen Stewart then was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Unfortunately, the Wildcats were able to get the Utes to line out to right field to keep Utah off the board.
The Utes opened the scoring when Dickman laced an RBI double off the left-center field fence that allowed senior shortstop Kelsi Hoopiiaina to score from first. Freshman catcher Shelby Pacheco then launched a sacrifice fly to right field that allowed Dickman to cross home plate for Utah's second score for her 16th RBI of the season.
Arizona took the lead with a four-run fourth before Sweet tagged her three-run homer in the home half of the frame to give Utah a 5-4 edge. The Wildcats came back with the equalizer in the fifth, but the Utes threatened in their half of the fifth, beginning with a double to left center by Dickman. Unfortunately, Dickman was cut down on a fielder's choice hit by Pacheco. Mendenhall followed by getting hit by a pitch to put Utes on first and second base, but the Wildcats were able to get a foul out and fly out to keep the game tied at five runs apiece.
The action remained even until the bottom of the 10th as Dickman drew a leadoff walk and Pacheco reached on a fielder's choice to put Utah runners on first and second base with none out. A fly out to center field by Mendenhall advanced the runners to second and third base. Unfortunately, the Utes lined out and flied out to left field to end the frame.
Arizona (23-10, 3-2 Pac-12) was able to push the game-winning run across home plate in the 11th to clinch the victory.
The Utes conclude their Pac-12 series with Arizona tomorrow at 12 p.m. MT. Listen to Gavin McCallister's play-by-play call and follow the live stats at utahutes.com.