3. Andrew Whiting/Lenny Whiting (USU) def. Tom Plunkett/Yusuke Kanehira (SU) 9-7
SOFTBALL: At San Diego, for the second day in a row, Utah State softball (7-8) split its pair of games in the San Diego Classic I. USU rallied behind pitching and defense to defeat Cal Poly, 1-0 in its opening game on Saturday. It was the first shutout of the season for the Aggies. In the second game of the night, Utah State could not recover from Cal State Northridge's early lead and fell to the Matadors, 4-2.
Utah State shut out Cal Poly for its seventh win of the season, 1-0, in a game focused on pitching and defense. Starting pitcher, junior Mandy Harmon, tossed her best game of the season on Saturday and was locked in a duel with CP starting pitcher Chole Wurst. Harmon pitched six innings allowing four hits to the 23 batters she faced, striking out three. Harmon was able to corral the Mustangs by not yielding a run during her six frames in the circle. Junior pitcher Shelbi Tyteca came in to relieve Harmon in the bottom of the seventh and would close out the game, giving USU its first shutout of the season.
With the win, Harmon earned her second win of the season and Tyteca would be credited with her second save of the season. This was the first shutout for the Aggies since April 20, 2011 against Idaho State, when they defeated the Bengals, 3-0 in Pocatello.
USU was able to earn the lone run of the game in the top of the sixth frame by putting pressure on the defense after a lead-off walk by sophomore infielder Allison Lenzora, who advanced to second when sophomore outfielder Kassandra Uchida grounded a ball back to second base. Sophomore outfielder Christina Cummings struck out looking but was able to reach base after the catcher was unable to glove the pitch, which found its way to the backstop.
Junior infielder Christine Thomsen advance Lenzora and Cummings to second and third with a grounder down the first base line, putting the Aggies within 60 feet from scoring the first run of the game. Senior infielder Kelley Kaneshiro would force the action with a well struck grounder to the third baseman that was mishandled, allowing Lenzora to safely cross the plate and that was all Utah State needed from its offense to secure the win.
In the second game of the day, Cal State Northridge jumped out to an early lead in the top for the first innings, when Mikayla Thielges hit a two-run home run to grab the early advantage.
USU looked to respond in the bottom half of the inning when Thomsen earned a two-out walk to get on base. Kaneshiro advanced Thomsen with a single to put a runner in scoring position. Senior infielder Lindsey Marquez knocked a grounder up the middle that was booted and allowed Thomsen to round third and score. The Matadors silenced the threatening Aggies to preserve their, 2-1 lead through the opening frame.
CSUN added two more runs in the top of the fifth inning to stretch out its lead over Utah State, 4-1. USU looked to start a rally with its final at-bats for the game. Freshman utility player Jolene Koons led-off by getting hit with a pitch. Thomsen followed Koons with a single to put a runner in scoring position. Kaneshiro loaded the bases by drawing a walk from Crystal Maas with not outs. Marquez delivered with a sacrifice fly ball to center field that would score Koons from third. With runners on second and third that Aggies could not complete the late game rally and commited the final two outs of the game.
Utah State split the season action against Cal State Northridge, 1-1, as the two team met in the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic in a game that USU won, 12-9.
The Aggies will conclude their play in the San Diego Classic I on Sunday as they take on Saint Joseph's at 10 a.m. (MT). Sunday's game will be the only game in the San Diego Classic I where Utah State will not play against a team from California.
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