The University of Utah softball team made history on Sunday evening by winning the first-ever Pac-12 Softball Tournament Championship. The No. 15 ranked Utes defeated the No. 2 ranked UCLA Bruins with a score of 7-4, claiming their first Pac-12 Championship since joining the conference in 2012. The Utes will now host an NCAA Regional consisting of Southern Illinois, Baylor and Ole Miss in Salt Lake City on Friday.
The moment we found out.#GoUtes pic.twitter.com/KFD5nSzzsc
— Utah Softball (@Utah_Softball) May 14, 2023
The victory marks the Utes’ 10th conference tournament championship and their first since winning the Mountain West Conference Tournament in 2006. Additionally, it secures their spot in the NCAA Tournament, which will be their 17th appearance in the national postseason.
Head coach Amy Hogue expressed her gratitude and pride in the team’s achievement, stating, “It’s a great day to be a Ute! This team has been doing the work it takes to win championships. They believe in themselves and in each other.”
The game started with the Bruins taking an early lead with a home run by Aaliyah Jordan, but the Utes quickly responded with Karlie Davison’s solo shot. Utah’s offense continued to excel, leading to Kaylah Nelsen’s double that evened the score, followed by Shelbi Ortiz’s RBI single that gave the Utes their first lead.
Although the Bruins managed to tie the game, the Utes regained the advantage in the sixth inning with Ellessa Bonstrom and Hailee White contributing crucial hits. Halle Morris sealed the victory with a pinch-hit home run. The Utes’ strong defense, including Abby Dayton’s spectacular diving catch, helped maintain the lead.
Following their historic Pac-12 title win, the University of Utah softball team will be opening the NCAA Tournament at home as the No. 15 seed. They will face the Southern Illinois Salukis on Friday at Dumke Family Softball Stadium. This will be the Utes’ 17th NCAA Tournament appearance and their first since reaching the super regionals in 2017.
The Utes will aim to improve their regional round record and continue their recent success in the tournament. The clash against the Salukis will be their first-ever meeting. Southern Illinois secured their spot in the NCAA Tournament by winning the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.
Salt Lake City will witness more softball action as Baylor and Ole Miss will kick off the tournament with their match on Friday morning. Tickets for the regional are available for purchase, and more information can be found on the Dumke Family Softball Stadium’s website.
Utah Softball Head Coach Amy Hogue joined Bill Riley to recap Utah winning the inaugural Pac-12 Tournament Championship and hosting NCAA regionals this weekend.
Keep up to date with the latest University of Utah news with ESPN 700