College roundup: Utes produce hits, just not enough runs, against Bruins

Deseret News

Published: Saturday, March 31 2012 11:00 p.m. MDT

USU SOFTBALL: At Logan, the Aggies (10-22, 2-4 WAC) closed out their home-opening series with a win, 4-0, over Western Athletic Conference foe Nevada (12-24, 3-3). Junior starting pitcher Mandy Harmon recorded her second complete game shutout of the season, holding Nevada to only two hits in the game and fanned five in seven innings of work.

USU's offense came to the support of Harmon's effort in the bottom of the third inning as sophomore catcher Samantha Miller led off with a single to start the inning. Sophomore outfielder Christina Cummings executed a perfect sacrifice bunt to move Miller into scoring position at second base. The third-straight sophomore delivered for the Aggies, as outfielder Kassandra Uchida singled to right field, advancing Miller to third. Junior infielder Christine Thomsen came to the plate looking to convert and did not disappoint. Thomsen drove a ball between the third baseman and the shortstop, allowing Miller to safely cross home.

USU added to its lead in the bottom of the fourth as freshmen outfielder Hailey Froton hit a lead-off single and stole second, putting herself in scoring position. Froton moved up again on a wild pitch from Nevada's starting pitcher Bailey Brewer. Harmon would help her pitching effort by flying a ball deep to left field allowing Froton to race home and increased the Aggie lead, 2-0.

The Wolf Pack looked to rally late in the game and created it best chance of the day in the top of the fifth frame as they loaded the bases with only one out. Caylin Campbell came to the plate for Nevada looking to do some damage as she connected and drove the ball hard to the third base side. Utah State senior infielder Tatem Day denied any scoring opportunities as she snared Campbell's hard hit ball and tagged out Emily Seidel before she could get back to third for an unassisted doubled play to end the inning.

The Aggies further aided Harmon's efforts by adding two more runs in the bottom-half of the fifth inning. The first run of the frame came from Uchida, who drove a ball over the right field fence for a solo home run. It was the third home run from Uchida this season. Thomsen kept the scoring going as she worked her way around the base path to end up at third when Froton came to the plate and drove a ball into right field, scoring Thomsen. Froton was 2-for-2 in the game with an RBI and a run scored.

Harmon had more than enough and shutdown Nevada in the final two innings, seizing the victory for the home team. Harmon improves to 5-11 this season as well as recording her second shutout of the season and her sixth complete game. Harmon has pitched 931/3 innings, with a 4.57 ERA this season and has carried Utah State's pitching staff in the last three weeks of action.

Utah State will savor the win but will have a short turnaround as it travels to Orem, Utah to take on in-state rival Utah Valley on Tuesday. First pitch is set for 4 p.m. (MT).

WSU SOFTBALL: At Greeley, Colo., behind a school-record 17-hit performance, the Wildcats earned a 15-6 victory over Northern Colorado before dropping a 12-4 decision in the day's second contest.

Sophomore shortstop Brooke Silva went 3-for-4 at the plate, with a career-high six RBIs and two home runs, one of which was a third-inning grand slam.

Freshman Cydnee Clarke went 4-for-4 with five RBIs, with both marks reaching new career highs.

Senior right hander Sarah Clark was 3-for-3 at the plate, with three runs scored, and also reached once on a walk. Clark also earned her 10th win of the season on the mound, becoming just the third player in Weber State softball history to reach double-digit wins in a single season.

Senior centerfielder Erika Dixon and senior second baseman Symbree Minniear each recorded two hits, while senior third baseman Lyndsey Minnich hit a three-run homer in the second inning.

In all, eight different Wildcats got a hit at the plate as Weber State stormed out to a 12-1 lead in the top of the third and cruised to the win.

After falling behind 3-0 in the second contest of the day, the Wildcats rallied to make it 3-2 in the top of the third, but a disastrous bottom half of the frame saw the Bears score six runs to take a 9-2 lead.

Weber State cut it to 9-4, but Northern Colorado scored three runs in the bottom of the fifth to end the game on run-rule.

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