Utah’s pitchers struggled in their last series against the Huskies. Now, Utes coach Amy Hogue says her pitching staff needs to raise its game if they want to win against UW this weekend
In a three-game sweep of Utah in Salt Lake City earlier this month the UW softball team (46-11) outscored their Pac-12 opponent 29-15. Their track record against the Utes also includes a 12-1 blowout and – perplexingly – a sneaky 13-12 win that saw Utah blow a 12-1 fifth inning lead.
Collectively, Utah’s pitching staff gave up 32 hits, 29 runs – 21 of which were earned runs — and 15 walks, while amassing only seven strikeouts.
That series was a low point for the Utes and a source of inspiration for the Huskies going into postseason play. But it’s now taken both teams to the same place: Husky Softball Stadium in the NCAA Softball Super Regional this weekend, with a berth to the Women’s College World Series on the line.
UW took a heady confidence from that big rally in that final game against the Utes while Utah was forced to look within itself to find a way to bounce back quickly.
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“We took a lot from that series,” said Utah coach Amy Hogue. “That really helped us for regionals.”
The lesson learned: “No number is big enough.”
Which helps explain how the Utes’ offense exploded to score 14 runs in a 14-0 regional final win against BYU.
Also: “On the flip side, if you’re the team that’s behind, there’s no such thing as ‘the game is over,’” Hogue said.
In the Utes’ first regional game against BYU, they trailed 2-1 until the bottom of the seven when hits from Bridget Castro and Hailey Hilburn led Utah to a 3-2 comeback win.
Those two wins showed Hogue that her team had well and truly flushed its 13-12 defeat to UW from its memory banks.
Now, the Utes face the Huskies again with a clean slate.
“One thing we talked about after (playing UW) is…