SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – For the first time ever, the Utah softball team will host an NCAA Super Regional.
Mariah Lopez held Ole Miss to one run for the second straight game, while Karlie Davison blasted her 11th home run of the year, as the Utes beat the Rebels, 4-1, to win the NCAA Regional.
Utah will host San Diego State in a best-of-three series next weekend for the right to advance to the Women’s College World Series. The Aztecs defeated Liberty on Saturday, 6-3, to advance to the Super Regionals.
“That was fantastic,” said head coach Amy Hogue, whose team won a school record 40th game of the season. “I’m really proud of this team and accomplishing something that we have not done. We’ve never had the opportunity to host the Supers. I’d love anybody to come here and play this team right now because we’re playing great.”
The Utes took control of the championship game in the second inning, scoring three times against Ole Miss. Davison hit a 2-run shot to left, while Kendall Lundberg followed with an RBI single to give the Utes a 3-0 lead.
Aliya Belarde, who raised her batting average to .400 this season, chopped an RBI single up the middle in the fourth inning to give the Utes a 4-0 lead.
Lopez went the distance on the mound, striking out five batters, while giving up just six hits and one run.
“No matter what it took, we knew we needed to win this game because we knew how important it was,” said Lopez, who improved to 21-5 on the year.
Julia Jimenez and Abby Dayton each had two hits and scored a run for the Utes.
Another packed house at the Dumke Softball Stadium helped Utah win all three games of the Regional this weekend.
“They were cheering the whole time,” Lopez said. “It was really keeping us up and wanting to do it not only for our team and coaches, but for the fans.”
After #2 UCLA lost on Saturday, Utah knew that a win over Ole Miss today would let them make history by hosting a Super Regional next weekend.
“It was exciting for sure knowing that we had the chance to host,” said Davison, a freshman who leads the team in home runs. “But also, we knew that we still needed to win a game. It wasn’t automatic. But we all had the confidence going into today that we would come out with the win.”
This is Utah’s first trip to the Super Regional since 2017. The last time Utah made it to the WCWS, Hogue was a member of the team back in 1994.
Utah is one of four Pac-12 teams in the Super Regionals, the most of any conference in the nation. Washington, Stanford and Oregon also made it to the round of 16.