TUSCON, Ariz. (ABC4 Sports) – The Utes are Pac-12 Tournament champs.
Karlie Davison and Halle Morris each hit home runs as #15 Utah upset #2 UCLA to win the inaugural Pac-12 Softball Tournament, 7-4.
The Utes ended UCLA’s 25-game winning streak.
11 different Utes had base hits in the game, while Mariah Lopez went the distance on the mound for her 18th victory of the season.
“It’s a great day to be a Ute!” said head coach Amy Hogue. “For all those who believed in this group, I want to say thank you. For those who are just getting on board, welcome. This team has been doing the work it takes to win championships. This is just the first one. They believe in themselves and in each other. I couldn’t be prouder to be their coach. They deserve this trophy. They earned it. It was one of the greatest team championships I’ve ever been a part of. We needed everyone this week, which is why it was that much sweeter.”
Utah earns the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, and will learn where it will be playing in the NCAA Regionals on Sunday. This is Utah’s first NCAA Tournament since 2017.
After falling behind 2-0, Davison launched her second home run of the tournament in the second inning to cut the deficit in half.
Utah then scored three times in the fourth inning on a 2-run double from Kaylah Nelsen and an RBI single by Shelbi Ortiz to take a 4-3 lead.
After UCLA tied the game at four, Utah scored three runs in the sixth to take the lead for good. Hailee White drove in the go-ahead run with an RBI double to center. Then Morris, who is from Tucson, cranked a 2-run pinch hit home run to put the game away.
Lopez struck out five including the final batter of the game to earn her third victory of the tournament. Lopez was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Pac-12 Tournament.
Haley Denning was the only Utes player with two hits, and Denning also scored a run.
Julia Jimenez, who is hitting .369 this season, had to leave the game after fouling a ball off her face in the third inning.
This is the first time Utah (37-13) has beaten UCLA (52-6) in four tries this season.
The NCAA Softball Selection Show will take place at 5:00 p.m. MT Sunday on ESPN2.