SOFTBALL: At Las Vegas, senior right-hander Generra Nielson threw her fourth straight complete game, but the University of Utah softball team dropped a 2-0 decision to Portland State on Saturday during the second day of the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic Saturday at Stephanie Lynn Craig Park.
Utah (4-3) was held hitless by Portland State through its first six at-bats and the Utes had their three-game win streak snapped.
In her sixth start of the season, Utah senior Generra Nielson allowed two earned runs on six hits, while tying her career high with 13 strikeouts. Her previous career high for strikeouts came at the Big 10/MWC/ACC Challenge in Tallahassee, Fla., against Wisconsin on March 13, 2011. Nielson, a Blanding, Utah native, has had 10 or more strikeouts in each of her last three outings and eight times over her career.
Senior third baseman Whitney Holm and freshman pinch hitter Kendal Bergman both notched hits for the Utes.
Portland State's Brittney Hendrickson hit a solo home run off an 0-1 delivery from Nielson to lead off the second inning to put PSU ahead 1-0. The Vikings then knocked in a second run when a double by Kayla Norrie grazed the top of the left-field wall that allowed Alexa Morales to score from first base. It was only the second time this season that Utah's opponents have scored first and the Utes are now 1-1 in those contests.
After giving up a single to Portland State's Carly McEachran with one out in the top of the third frame, Nielson retired 10 straight Vikings before Hendrickson singled an 0-2 pitch up the middle with two out in the bottom of the sixth.
Utah threatened to score for the first time in the bottom of the fifth frame when Hannah Clements reached third base on a two-out error by PSU's right fielder, but the Utes were unable to convert on the scoring chance.
The Utes put together another scoring chance in the bottom of the seventh inning, beginning when freshman outfielder Kate Dickman drew a leadoff walk. Holm then came up with Utah's first hit of the contest, a loop single through the left side of the Viking defense. Bergman was then inserted into the Ute lineup as a pinch hitter and knocked a two-out single up the middle to load the bases, but the Utes were held scoreless and PSU came away with the 2-0 victory.
Utah is now 2-1 at the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic and concludes action at the event with a doubleheader tomorrow at UNLV's Eller Media Stadium. The Utes take on UC Riverside tomorrow at 9 a.m. PT and Cal State Northridge at 11:15 a.m. PT.
BASEBALL: At Davis, Calif., the Utah baseball team picked up its first win of the season on Saturday against UC Davis, 7-1.
Utah took a 3-0 lead in the second inning off the bat of Ethan Leiter, who hit a three-run home run to left field after Parker Morin and Trey Nielsen each had hits to reach base.
UC Davis stranded two in bottom of second before getting on the board in the bottom of the fourth inning off singles from Eric Johnson and Nick Lynch. Although the Aggies loaded the bases with just one out, Ute starter Joe Pond got out of the jam by forcing John Williams into a double play.
The Utes added to their total in the sixth inning with three runs for a 6-1 lead. Biss Larsen had the big hit in the inning with a two-RBI single as Utah took advantage of two UC Davis errors.
UC Davis again left two runners on base in the bottom of the sixth inning. Utah would continue to increase its lead in the seventh with a run, as Tyson Gonzalez led off the inning with a single and would score on a sacrifice fly from Nielsen.
Gonzalez and Morin each had a pair of hits to lead Utah.
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