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Utah softball: Utes beat Washington, force Game 3 in Super Regional

First Published      Last Updated May 27 2017 11:15 pm


Utah 9, Washington 8 » Visitors score seven runs in third and hold on from there.

Seattle • Utah coach Amy Hogue summed up her team's Super Regional victory over Washington on Saturday night with one equation.

"This team is one game away from going to the World Series," Hogue said. "We've not been able to say that before and I guarantee that's not going to get old. We're going to keep saying it all night tonight and all day tomorrow until this thing's over."

Freshman BreOnna Castaneda's three-run homer capped a seven-run third inning as Utah forced a decisive third game, hanging on for a 9-8 victory to even the NCAA Super Regional series at one game apiece.




The decisive Game 3 will be at 8 p.m. MDT Sunday, with the winner advancing to the College World Series in Oklahoma City.

The Utes came on strong at the plate against Huskies ace Taran Alvelo, was was tagged for seven runs, three earned, on five hits in 2 2⁄3 innings.

Utah, which had been swept in a three-game series at home by Washington two weeks ago, sent 13 hitters to the plate in the third as they took a 9-4 lead. The Utes augmented five hits in the third with two walks, a sacrifice bunt, a sacrifice fly, a Huskies throwing error, a hit batter and a run-scoring, bases-loaded triple steal. Anissa Urtiz had an RBI double and Kay Kay Fronda an RBI single. Castaneda's homer, her third, came off freshman reliever Samantha Manti.

The Huskies cut it to 9-6 in the fourth on a two-run double by Taylor Van Zee. Kirstyn Thomas' bases-loaded single on a dribbler in front of the plate pulled Washington within 9-7 in the sixth.

Fronda made a sensational running catch in the gap in left-center to rob Ali Aguilar of a leadoff hit in the seventh. Sis Bates followed with a double, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on Casey Stangel's sacrifice fly to left to make it 9-8.

Fronda wasn't sure if she could get to Aguilar's ball.

"I don't know, but I was going to try," Fronda said. "I just stuck my glove out there and hoped that it would go in, and it did."

Morganne Flores, who homered earlier Saturday and hit two homers in Friday's opener, grounded out to second to end the game.

Katie Donovan (18-9) started for the Utes and allowed six runs on seven hits with five walks in 32⁄3 innings. Miranda Viramontes limited the Huskies to one run on four hits in 21⁄3 innings, before Donovan reentered and pitched the final inning.

"It doesn't really matter who we're playing at this point, it's just another team that we have to beat one more time to go to the World Series," Donovan said. "Postseason is a whole new season. It starts over. So, we don't look back on what happened the previous weekend or whatever it is. It's all about whatever we need to do to win the next game."

Kelly Martinez staked the Utes to a 2-0 lead in the second inning with a two-run homer, her eighth of the season. Washington erased the deficit with a two-run homer by Flores and then took a 4-2 lead on a two-run homer by Julia DePonte, both in the third inning, before Utah rallied in the bottom of the third.

"When you're down to your last game, you just keep everyone ready, and you just keep flip-flopping them trying to find a good matchup and then hoping you keep a couple of their kids in the park," Hogue said. "They're an incredible set of hitters, but we just kept counting the outs. Get the lead and count the outs."

 

AT A GLANCE

Storylines

Utah freshman catcher Kelly Martinez hits a two-run homer, her eighth of the season.

» The Utes score seven runs in 2 2⁄3 innings against Washington pitcher Taran Alvelo, who had beaten the Utes four straight times, including Friday’s opener.

Super Regionals

Game 1 » Washington 10, Utah 4

Game 2 » Utah 9, Washington 8

Game 3 » 8 p.m. Sunday


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