Junior Katelyn Elliott sparked Utah's 8-1 rally at UCLA on Saturday.
April 21, 2012
LOS ANGELES - Junior Katelyn Elliott started the Utes' 8-1 rally by cracking a three-run home run in the top of the fifth, but the University of Utah softball team fell to No. 15/15 UCLA, 11-8, on Saturday in the middle contest of a three-game Pac-12 Conference series Saturday at Easton Stadium.
The Utah (23-20, 0-14 Pac-12) offense was led by Elliott, who went 2-for-4 at the plate in the game, including her fifth home run of the season, to go with three RBI to push her season total to 17. Elliott now has nine extra-base hits this year and 12 during her time as a Ute. The Spanish Fork, Utah native has now driven in 23 runs over her career.
Elliott was one of four Utes with multiple hits against the Bruins. Senior first baseman Tia Palauni went 3-for-4, which was her fifth game of two or more hits this season. Her three hits in the contest tied a single-game high for this season, initially set during a 3-for-3, one RBI performance at UNC Greensboro on Feb. 25. The Taylorsville, Utah native has 26 hits and 17 RBI this season. She added a two-out single in the sixth and now has 94 hits to go with 79 RBI over her Utah career.
Senior third baseman Whitney Holm registered two hits with two RBI. She improved her team-high RBI total to 35 this season with two runs driven in after she hit a one-out single in the top of the fourth. She now has driven in 126 runs during her Ute career and needs just five more to tie Sunny Smith (1997-2000) and Niki Hayhurst (2000-03) for fourth place in school history.
Junior second baseman Jackie Sweet turned in two hits in four at-bats. She wrapped her fifth double of the year, which gives her nine extra-base hits this season (five doubles and four home runs). She has hit 10 doubles during her career as a Ute and has 18 extra-base hits during her Utah career. Sweet also came through with a one-out single to left field in the seventh.
Palauni cracked a one-out single through the left side of the Bruin defense for Utah's first hit of the contest in the bottom of the first. She was awarded second base after an illegal pitch then advanced to third after a wild pitch. With two out in the first inning, freshman Marissa Mendenhall reached base with a walk then stole second base, the first steal of her career, but the Bruins were able to get a pop-out for the third out.
The Utes fought back by scoring eight runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth frames.
Mendenhall drew her second straight walk with one out in the fourth frame before Sweet tagged a double to center field to put Ute runners on second and third base. Holm then converted on the scoring chance by knocking a 1-1 delivery up the middle to plate Mendenhall and Sweet for Utah's first two runs of the game.
Junior shortstop Kelsi Hoopiiaina and Palauni came up with back-to-back one-out single in the fifth inning before Elliott connected on her sixth round-tripper of the season, a three-run shot to left-center field off an 0-1 pitch, to cut Utah's deficit to six runs, 11-5. Hoopiiaina is now second on the team with 41 hits this season.
The Utes kept the pressure on in the sixth inning as Dickman drew a leadoff walk and Holm lined her second single of the contest to left field to put runners on first and second base with no outs. Sophomore Chalese Fankhauser then rolled a ground ball to the Bruin third baseman and reached base after a fielding miscue that allowed Holm to cross the plate for Utah's sixth run. Palauni looped a single down the right-field line to score two runs.
UCLA jumped out to a 10-0 lead after scoring two runs in the bottom of the first, adding eight scores in the bottom half of the third as well as a single run in the fourth frame.
Utah's four-game errorless streak was snapped after a miscue was charged to the Utes in the third inning.
The finale between the Utes and Bruins will be played tomorrow at 12 p.m. PT with live audio and Gametracker coverage available at uclabruins.com.