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Utah softball: Utes record another shutout with 2-0 win against UCSB

CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. — Freshman Miranda Viramontes (W, 3-3) pitched four scoreless innings and freshman Katie Donovan (S, 2) tossed three innings of scoreless softball in a relief effort to help guide the Utah Utes to a 2-0 win over the Gauchos of UC-Santa Barbara on Friday evening at Big League Dreams Park.

Viramontes picked up her third win of the season after giving up just three hits in four full innings of work. She managed to get out of a pair of jams in both the second and fourth innings with the strikeout and ended the game with four K’s on the day.

Donovan, who pitched her first no-hitter in game one on Friday, came into the game in the fifth inning and, after loading the bases, struck out the next two batters and then left the bases loaded with a ground out to get out of the inning. She became the first Utah player to earn at least two saves in a season since Brittany Parker recorded two saves in 2008.

Utah would finally get on the board with the game’s first run when Anissa Urtez doubled and later scored on Marissa Mendenhall’s single to left field. Maddy Woodard came into the game to pinch run for Mendenhall and then, after stealing second base, scored on a bloop single from Shelby Pacheco to give the Utes a 2-0 lead.

That would be more than enough for the Ute offense with Viramontes and Donovan teaming up to record eight total strikeouts en route to the shutout.

Senior Kate Dickman was one of just four players to have a hit against UCSB, but her single in the third inning extended her current hitting streak to 12 straight games.

UCSB’s Ashley Ludlow (L, 1-7) took the loss in the game after giving up just the two runs on four hits in a complete-game effort.

Utah 11, Nevada 0: At Cathedral City, California, Utah's Donovan was a strikeout away from recording a no-hitter in just her second career start for the Utes back on Feb. 7, but the hurler out of Salem, Oregon, managed to finish the deed this time around, tossing a five-inning no-hitter in Utah’s 11-0 run-rule win over Nevada on Friday afternoon at Big League Dreams Park.

Donovan opened the contest with a one-two-three inning and never looked back on the way to throwing the first no-hitter of her career. Donovan was just a runner away from tossing a perfect game, but she hit a player with one of her pitches in the top of the fourth inning to give the Wolf Pack its only runner of the game, ending the perfect game bid.

Utah scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning on a two-run single through the right side of the infield from Bridget Castro. Hannah Flippen led off the inning with a walk, Dickman followed with a single, and both players scored on Castro’s base knock to give Utah an early 2-0 lead.

The Utes extended their lead to 3-0 in the bottom of the second inning when Pacheco reached with an infield single and later scored on Flippen’s RBI single to left field. Utah would then put the game out of reach after plating home eight runs on four hits in the bottom of the fourth inning to take a commanding 11-0 lead.

Donovan did the rest, shutting down the Wolf Pack in order with three straight strikeouts en route to the third shutout of her career. She earned her third win of the season and is now 3-1 overall after tossing the no-no with a career-high six strikeouts in the five-inning affair.

Flippen and Dickman led the Utes at the plate as both hitters went 2 for 2 on the day. Dickman led the squad with four RBIs and Pacheco led the team with three runs scored.

The Utes will be back in action Saturday, facing off with No. 10/13 Tennessee at 10 a.m. (PT).