Ellessa Bonstrom, Abby Dayton Lead No. 19 Utah Softball Over Arizona Wildcats

Mar 21, 2023, 9:37 AM | Updated: 9:38 am

SALT LAKE CITY – A wild weekend in Tucson saw the No. 19 Utah Utes softball team take two of three games against the then-No. 17 Arizona Wildcats. For their efforts, graduate senior Ellessa Bonstrom earned her second Pac-12 Player of the Week honor in a row while Abby Dayton was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Week.

The Pac-12 made the announcements on Monday, March 20.

Utah (20-4, 5-1) opened their Pac-12 regular season with a three-game sweep of Oregon State, launching the Utes into to top-25 for the first time since 2017 and setting the stage for a showdown against the Wildcats.

Game 1

In game one, Utah won 8-3 for their 11th consecutive victory and improved to 4-0 in league play for the first time since 2000. They have never started 4-0 in the Pac-12.

Game 2

On Saturday, the Utes scored two runs in the top half of the seventh to take a 4-1 lead. Arizona plated three runs in the bottom of the seventh to send the game into extra innings.

Utah went on to score five runs between the eighth and ninth innings but couldn’t slow down a streaking Arizona offense.

Utah took a 9-6 lead into the ninth but Arizona answered with a three-run home run to tie the game. Later in the ninth, a bases-loaded walk ended the winning streak and gave Arizona the 10-9 victory.

Game 3

Less than 24 hours later, the Wildcats scored six runs off of starting pitcher Mariah Lopez as they jumped out to a 7-1 lead after two innings. The Utes rallied for four runs in the third but gave it all back when Arizona plated four runs in the fourth.

Arizona led 11-5 after four innings.

Over the next three frames, the Utes scored eight unanswered runs to snare the 13-11 win and a series victory. Halle Morris shut down the Arizona offense, throwing three scoreless innings with one strikeout.

About Ellessa Bonstrom

3 G, .444 AVG, 4 H, 2 HR, 1 2B, 5 RBIs, 5 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 11 TB, .615 OBP, 1.222 SLG

Playing in her hometown of Tucson, Bonstrom became the second Ute to win two Pac-12 Player of the Week awards in a single season, joining Hannah Flippen in 2015.

For the season, Bonstrom leads the Utes with eight home runs and 33 runs batted in.

With 157 career RBI, she is 19 runs batted in shy from becoming the program’s all-time leader. Bonstrom is also within range of being the Utes’ all-time leader in sacrifice flies and bases on balls.

About Abby Dayton

3 G, .600 AVG, 6 H, 2 2B, 6 RBIs, 3 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 8 TB, .636 OBP, .800 SLG

Dayton became the first Ute to win Pac-12 Freshman of the Week since Kelly Martinez was recognized in 2017.

The freshman out of Riverside, California joined the Utes after being a four-year starter on the Norco HS softball team. She was twice named all-league and earned an all-state selection in 2021.

In 14 starts, Dayton has 11 hits and six RBI.

Against Arizona, she was a critical part of two high-scoring contests. Between games two and three, Dayton reached base six times and scored thrice while plating six Utes. She also picked up her first extra-base hit of the season with a pair of doubles in Sunday’s comeback win.

Up Next

The No. 19 Utes return to Salt Lake City and Dumke Family Softball Stadium where they are scheduled for a trio of non-conference games. Utah takes on the Boise State Broncos at 4 p.m. (MT) on Wednesday, March 22.

On Saturday, March 25, Amy Hogue’s Utes are scheduled to face Weber State in an afternoon doubleheader. First pitch for game one is scheduled for 1 p.m. (MT).

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Ellessa Bonstrom, Abby Dayton Lead No. 19 Utah Softball Over Arizona Wildcats