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The Utes put a resounding exclamation point on their NCAA softball regional performance on Saturday, trouncing rival BYU to advance to the Super Regionals for the second consecutive year.
Utah scratched off an item on its list of goals with a 14-0 drubbing of the Cougars at Dumke Family Softball Stadium, its largest margin of victory in an NCAA Tournament game. The Utes (36-14) had a goal of hosting a regional this season, and in doing so went 3-0, outscoring their opponents a combined 27-2.
Utah will find out who it plays in the Super Regionals on Sunday, with Pac-12 rival Washington favored to advance out of its regional.
"My head is still spinning and I can't see anything, but it's awesome," said senior second baseman Hannah Flippen, who became the program's all-time hits leader in the sixth inning. "It feels great. I love winning. I love winning on this field. I love winning with my teammates."
The Utes had 17 hits in the game, including eight in an eight-run sixth inning to make it a run-rule shortened game.
Anissa Urtez went 3 for 4 with five RBIs and two runs scored. Kelly Martinez homered, and Alyssa Barrera (2 for 3), Heather Bowen (2 for 3), Kay Kay Fronda (2 for 3) and Flippen (3 for 4) all enjoyed multi-hit games.
"I struggled a little bit yesterday so I tried to change my mindset for today, just see the ball down and hit strikes," Urtez said. "It worked. I think everyone else with the energy and everything that we were doing in the dugout and the fans, it just helped us the whole atmosphere."
When the teams played on Friday, Utah had to rally in the seventh inning to win. By the fourth inning of Saturday's game, Utes fans were dancing in the stands as the celebration had already started.
BYU pitcher McKenna Bull hit the first batter she faced, and it went downhill from there. After a fielding error put runners on the corners, Bull uncorked a wild pitch that allowed the game's first run to score and the trail runner to advance to third. Flippen drove in the second run with a sacrifice fly and the Utes grabbed a 2-0 lead without a hit.
Utah's first hit was Martinez's home run in the bottom of the second inning. It was 4-0 in the third inning on an RBI single by Urtez, and 5-0 later in the at-bat after a bases-loaded walk.
"McKenna just wasn't on her game," BYU coach Gordon Eakin said. "Whether that was because that was her third game in three days or [what], she was just off a little bit in the first inning and then we made a couple of errors to get that going. Utah played very, very good today. They're a great team anyway, but that's like playing the Golden State Warriors when they're all hitting the threes. How do you stop it? Today, most of the credit goes to Utah."
The Utes made it 6-0 on an expertly executed squeeze play in the fourth with Urtez driving in Barrera. Utah hit the mercy rule in the sixth inning with an eight-run rally that featured 13 batters, eight hits, two pitching changes, one wild pitch and one hit batter.
"I'm just happy for these girls, especially the seniors to go out on [their last game] on their field assuming we're not going to get to host next weekend, which is still on the table that's the sweetest part for me," Utes coach Amy Hogue said. "Those other girls will get to come back and play some more games here and do some big things, but to have it end like that for these kids that have worked so hard, that's why it is so sweet for me."
R Utah advances to the Super Regionals for the second straight season after a 14-0 rout of BYU.
• Anissa Urtez drives in five runs for the Utes, and Hannah Flippen becomes the program's all-time hits leader during the game.
• BYU's stellar defense falters early with two errors in the first two innings, and star pitcher McKenna Bull comes out in the third inning after giving up five runs.