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.
Pond allowed seven hits over six innings, striking out three. He earned the win to go to 1-0 on the year. Nick Green struck out two the seventh inning, while Josh Chapman did not allow a hit in his two innings pitched.
UC Davis starter Anthony Kupbens earned the loss, allowing six runs on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings. Lynch and Paul Politi each had two hits for the Aggies.
Utah and UC Davis continue their four-game series on Sunday at 1 p.m. PT.
SOFTBALL: At Henderson, Nev., a thrilling comeback win over Indiana preceded a loss to DePaul as the BYU softball team finished the weekend at the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic on Saturday.
Down 7-5 with one runner on and two outs in the bottom of the seventh and final inning, the Cougars stormed back after trailing the entire contest. Alexandra Hudson forced a walk on a full count and Krista Hicks was hit by a pitch to load the bases. JC Clayton drew another walk on a full count to bring in Stacie Toney and cut the lead to one.
With the bases still loaded, senior Jessica Dugas sent a sharp hit down the left field line where the diving Hoosier outfielder couldn't quite bring it in, scoring pinch runner Bailie Hicken and Hicks for the to complete the huge rally and get the win.
BYU trailed 2-1 after the first, 4-1 after the third, 5-4 after the fifth and 6-5 after the sixth before heading into the bottom of the seventh down by a pair.
Sophomore Carly Duckworth hit a 2-run home run in the fourth inning, also scoring freshman Megan Arnold who had reached on a single. Dugas added an RBI-single later in the inning.
Hannah Howell earned the win as the third BYU pitcher of the game, going 2.2 innings.
In the second game, BYU couldn't match DePaul's energy, falling 8-2.
Senior Delaney Willard hit a solo home run in the first inning after snapping a four-game home run streak against Indiana, giving her seven on the season and five in her last six games.
That was the only RBI for the Cougars on the game as DePaul outhit BYU, 12-4. Clayton led the Cougars with two hits.
BASEBALL: At Riverside, Calif., heroics in the ninth and 10th innings Saturday afternoon led to an 8-4 victory for BYU baseball over UC Riverside.
Cougar catcher Wes Guenther was on the receiving end of many of those plays as he lifted the Cougars to a 2-1 record in the extra-inning victory. The Kansas co-captain applied the ninth-inning tag at the plate on arelay from leftfielder Kelton Caldwell via shortstop Tanner Chauncey and he got the game-winning RBI in the four-run 10th with a two-out single to score Dillon Robinson.
That tag prevented the game-winning run from a would-be two-run single, which tied the game at four-all. Guenther, who had cramped up the day before, was on the receiving end of eight strikeouts thrown by BYU's three pitchers. While winning pitcher Marc Oslund struck out second batter in the 10th before a 4-6-3 double play ended the game, starter Adam Miller and reliever Desmond Poulson also recorded crucial strikeouts.
"I felt comfortable going into the ninth with a 4-1 lead," said BYU coach Vance Law. "The relay was an outstanding play. To knock down the winning run was huge.
"Our guys were gutsy in the top of the 10th because we had a time limit with no new inning starting after 3 p.m., in order to make our flight. It would have ended up a tie, but we got a clutch two-out base hit by Wes (Guenther) to give us the lead and by (Tanner) Chauncey with a two-run double that helped us out.
"Miller pitched well. He can be impressive and pitched himself out of a couple of jams."
Miller had a no hitter through four-plus innings until it was spoiled by Devon Bolasky's one-out single over shortstop. That was the lone hit surrendered by the flame-throwing sophomore who recently returned from a mission to Mexico.
Miller loaded the bases on three consecutive walks with one out in the third and got out of the jam. With bases juiced and full count, he threw a curve ball to record a called strikeout for out number two, then coaxed a fly-out to Jaycob Brugman in right field.
While Miller set UCR down in order the first two innings, his teammates were conducting a textbook clinic of fundamentals, executing sacrifice bunts, sac-flies and hit and run situations to generate a 2-0 lead through three innings. Freshman shortstop Chauncey was key in those efforts, setting up theinitial run on a bunt and executing a one-out hit and run in the third, both of which enabled Stephen Wells to score.
Poulson relieved Miller in the sixth, struggling in that inning when the Highlanders scored their initial run with the bases loaded. Poulson set the side down in order in the seventh, ending that inning with a swinging strikeout.
BYU added two runs in the eighth when Brock Whitney laced a left-field single to advance Brugman who got aboard when he was hit by a pitch and moved to second on a controversial balk with no outs.
When Oslund relieved Poulson in the ninth, it looked like a save situation with a 4-1 lead.
SALT LAKE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
SOFTBALL: At Taylorsville, The No. 2 Bruins fought back after dropping the first two games of the series to split the four games two apiece. Salt Lake took games three and four in dramatic fashion with a walk off single to win game one. The split of the series takes Salt Lake's record to 18-5 overall and 9-3 in conference play.
The Bruins began the day finishing off game two that was suspended due to darkness. Southern Idaho pushed three runs across the plate in the 10th inning which proved to be too much for the Bruins. Salt Lake had the tying and winning runs on second and third when the final out was made. Starlee Hutchings was 2 for 3 with two RBI's and Maddy Woodard blasted a three run home run to tie the game in the fifth.
In game three the Bruins fell down 4-2 early but fought back to tie the game in the sixth leading to Savanah Webster's walk off single in the seventh. Webster went 3 for 4 in the game with a double and the winning RBI. Lauren Miller was 2 for 3 with a double and Hutchings was 1 for 3 with an RBI. Kylee Colvin got the win striking out four batters.
In the final game it was Salt Lake that took the early lead jumping to a 3-0 lead. Southern Idaho cut the lead to 3-2 in the fifth before Salt Lake extended the lead to 4-2. MaCauley Flint got the win going seven innings with six strikeouts. Webster was 2 for 3 with an RBI, Malia Campos was 2 for 4 and Lyndsey Healey went 1 for 2 with a run batted in
SOFTBALL: At Tucson, Ariz., the T-birds split results again on day two at the Hillenbrand Invitational, posting a 4-1 victory over North Dakota to open the day and then losing a 9-1 decision to Arizona in the nightcap. The results leave the Thunderbirds with an overall record of 2-4 on the year.
In the first game of the day against UND, Southern Utah threatened with runners in scoring position in almost every inning, but was unable to break a scoreless draw during the first seven innings, causing the game to go into extra innings.
North Dakota put the first lights on the board on a sacrifice fly ball in the top of the eighth and then put the Thunderbirds against the ropes with two outs in the bottom of the inning. However, a two-out RBI single by Kelsey Bryant tied the game at 1-1 and then a Kadi Henderson three-run, walk-off home run over the right field fence gave Southern Utah the 4-1 victory.
SUU starter Heater Black threw a complete game, allowing the one run (unearned) in 8.0 innings with eight strikeouts and giving up only one walk. Southern Utah's two through six hitters logged each of Southern Utah's hits during the game with Henderson leading the way with a 3-for-4 clip at the plate with three RBI.
In the second game of the day, the Thunderbirds played Arizona close until the final inning answering the Wildcats two runs in the second inning with a run in the top of the third. Mikkel Griffin hit an RBI double in the frame, scoring Mallory Wilkinson from second to notch Southern Utah's run.
The game ended when Arizona erupted with seven runs in the bottom of the fifth to punctuate the contest 9-1.
Southern Utah will face both teams again tomorrow to wrap up the tournament.. The Thunderbirds will face North Dakota at 11 a.m. and then face Arizona at 1 p.m. Live stats for both games will be available online at www.suutbirds.com with a video stream available at www.arizonawildcats.com.