TUCSCON, Ariz. (ABC4 Sports) – The #17 Utah softball team is moving on to the championship game in the inaugural Pac-12 Tournament after an 8-4 victory over #5 Washington Friday night in Tuscon.
Julia Jimenez went 3-for-4 with three RBI and a home run, as Utah improved to 36-13 on the season.
Elessa Bonstrom added a 2-run home run as Utah scored four times in the seventh inning to put the game away.
“It’s been a little bit of a revenge tour so far this weekend,” said head coach Amy Hogue. “Two teams that beat us in series during the season were lined up first and our team wanted revenge.”
Mariah Lopez went the distance on the mound, scattering 11 hits and striking out two to improve to 17-5 on the season.
Kendall Lundberg and Abby Dayton each drove in a run for the Utes.
The Huskies refused to go quietly, starting their half of the seventh with a homer before loading the bases with nobody out, but Lopez used a pair of flyouts to bring Utah to the precipice of victory. A grounder to first provided the clinching putout that put the Utes one win away from a championship.
“Mariah with the complete game was huge for us and [Julia] had an amazing day at the plate,” Hogue said. “We knew we needed insurance runs and Halle’s pinch-hit broken-bat single started our biggest rally of the game. I loved Bonstrom’s bomb today and am looking forward to her leading us in the championship game tomorrow night. This team came for that ring and they have earned the chance to go get it tomorrow.”
Utah will face #2 UCLA in the Pac-12 Championship Game Saturday night at 8:00 p.m. MT. The top-seeded Bruins defeated Stanford in the other semifinal, 1-0.