SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – The Utah softball team is going to have to come from behind if it is going to advance to the Women’s College World Series for the first time in 29 years.
The Utes dropped the opener of the best-of-three Super Regional to San Diego State Friday night at the Dumke Family Softball Stadium, 4-3.
“We didn’t play great today,” said head coach Amy Hogue. “We’ve been playing really great, so bad timing to have a bad day. There were a lot of good moments, but it got a little tight and my team didn’t play very loose and the moment got a little big and it got away from us. We did all those things not so great and still only lost by a run. I like our opportunity to make those adjustments tomorrow and get back on that role we’ve been on for quite a while.”
The Aztecs jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning, scoring two unearned runs on an error by Utes pitcher Mariah Lopez.
But the Utes scored three runs in the second inning to take the lead. Sophie Jacquez doubled and scored on a throwing error by SDSU pitcher Allie Light. Haley Dunning bunted for a base hit, scoring Abby Dayton. Shelbi Ortiz drove home Dunning with a sacrifice fly to left to give Utah a 3-2 lead.
But San Diego State reclaimed the lead in the fourth inning when AJ Murphy doubled home two runs to put the Aztecs back on top.
Dee Dee Hernandez relieved Light and shut the Utes out over the final three innings, retiring 12 out of the 15 batters she faced, giving up just three singles.
The Utes had just five hits and one extra base hit in the game. Denning was 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored.
Utah (40-14) must win tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. to force a deciding game on Sunday.
This is the first time Utah has ever hosted a Super Regional.