SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – Unlike their dramatic come-from-behind win over BYU on Friday, the Utah softball team left no doubt on Saturday, crushing the Cougars, 14-0, to advance to the NCAA Super Regionals for the second straight year.
The Utes pounded out 17 hits, three by Hannah Flippen, who became Utah’s all-time hits leader with 261. Anissa Urtez knocked in five runs, while Miranda Viramontes shut BYU down through 5 1/3 innings to earn the victory.
“After yesterday’s game and knowing the last handful of games were all one-run games, that would have been a pretty lofty goal to think it was going to end that high,” said Utah head coach Amy Hogue.
“My head is still spinning and I can’t see anything,” joked Flippen. “But it was awesome. It feels great. I love winning, I love winning on this field, and I love winning with my teammates. So it was just a great feeling, and I’m glad we got the win today.”
“Just setting the tone early was key,” Viramontes added. “Just coming out hard and strong and just keeping that going the whole time, not letting off the gas at all.”
Kelly Martinez smashed a 2-run home run in the second inning to give Utah a 3-0 lead. The Utes led 6-0 after the 4th inning, then blew the game wide open with an 8-run 6th inning.
Alyssa Barrera, Kay Kay Fronda and Heather Bowen each added two hits for the Utes.
In three victories in the Regionals, which Utah was hosting for the first time ever, the Utes outscored their opponents 27-2.
“I’m just happy for these girls, especially the seniors to go out on senior day on their field,” said Hogue. “That’s the sweetest part for me. Those other girls will get to come back and play some more games here and do some big things, but to have it end like that for these kids that have worked so hard, that’s why it is so sweet for me.”
McKenna Bull, who won 30 games for BYU, suffered the loss.
Utah now awaits the winner of the Seattle Regional to see who they will play next week in the Super Regionals. If Washington is able to advance on its home field, the Utes will travel there next weekend. If Fresno State, Michigan or Montana advances, the Utes will host once again at Dumke Family Softball Stadium.