#16 Utah Softball 2018 Preview

Utah Utes
Overall Rank: #16
Conference Rank: #5 Pac-12
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Utah continued its rise towards the top of the College Softball landscape with another trip to the Super Regionals. The Utes were dominant in the Salt Lake City Regional and went on the road to Seattle and battle the Washington Huskies to a three-game epic Super Regional but fell short. Thus, there is some unfinished business for Utah as they look to try and kick the Women’s College World Series door down and get to Oklahoma City this season.
2017: 37-16, 13-10
2017 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Amy Hogue
Key Departed Players:
Hannah Flippen, IF, .424 BA, 10 HR, 53 RBI, 12 SB
Anissa Urtez, IF, .410 BA, 2 HR, 52 RBI
Bridget Castro, IF, .302 BA, 1 HR, 14 RBI
Delilah Pacheco, OF, .256 BA, 0 HR, 6 RBI
Key Returning Players:
Alyssa Barrera, OF, .381 BA, 2 HR, 23 RBI, 6 SB
Heather Bowen, IF, .316 BA, 7 HR, 44 RBI
Breonna Castaneda, UTIL, .301 BA, 3 HR, 16 RBI
Kelly Martinez, C/IF, .270 BA, 8 HR, 34 RBI
Miranda Viramontes, P, 1.51 ERA, 14-4 W-L, 115.2 IP, 19 BB, 74 SO
Katie Donovan, P, 3.29 ERA, 18-10 W-L, 155.1 IP, 72 BB, 132 SO
Hailey Hilburn, P, 2.04 ERA, 5-2 W-L, 68.2 IP, 37 BB, 35 SO
The everyday lineup requires some reloading for head coach Amy Hogue as Utah must replace Hannah Flippen, Anissa Urtez, and Bridget Castro. Thus, it will be up to Heather Bowen and Kelly Martinez to pick up the slack power wise as this duo combined for 15 homeruns and 78 runs batted in last season. Alyssa Barrera is back to set the table for the rest of the lineup. Barrera hit .381 with two homeruns and 23 runs batted in along with six stolen bases in 2017. Pitching is going to be a huge strength for the Utes as they bring back all three pitchers from last year’s Super Regional team. Miranda Viramontes was lights out last season. She had great command of her pitches, walking just 19 batters in 115.2 innings of work. Katie Donovan is the workhorse as she threw 155.1 innings in 2017 and will need to continue to attack opposing batters and eat up innings. Hailey Hilburn also did a nice job in her 68.2 innings of work. She was 5-2 last season with a 2.04 earned run average. Look for Utah to be able to mix and match all year long in tight games with this deep pitching staff. If the Utes can defend their home field in conference play and dominate in the circle, they will threaten to win 40 games and have another shot at getting to the Super Regionals and beyond in 2018.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament


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