David Shackelford/UVU Athletics
GREENSBORO, N.C. — The Utah Valley University softball split two games against Marist College and Western Carolina Saturday at the North Carolina A&T Invitational in Greensboro, N.C.
The Wolverines (5-4) started the day with a 6-5 loss to Western Carolina, but responded to defeat Marist 6-3.
"There are a lot of signs of our youth and newness to the program. We can be very good and we can be very bad at times. We're going to continue to get better however," UVU head softball coach Todd Fairbourne said. "The kids are going to overcome their nerves of being new, continue to learn how I expect the game to be played and understand what we want and they will just get better and better."
The Western Carolina (5-6) contest actually began Friday afternoon but rain caused the game to be halted after two innings with the score tied at 0-0. Action picked up where it left off Saturday morning and the Catamounts began the scoring with a run in the third and two in the fourth to pull ahead 3-0.
UVU then got things going offensively in the fifth when Amanda Robinson drove home her first run of the day with an RBI single. WCU then tacked on two more runs in the frame to hold a 5-1 lead. The Wolverines then rallied to score on three more runs in the top of the sixth thanks to RBIs from Jessica Uresti, Marie Williams and Robinson to pull within a run.
The Catamounts scored what proved to be the decisive insurance run in the last of the sixth to take a 6-4 advantage. Utah Valley rallied in the seventh and managed to score a run on a two-out Maddy Schulz homer but WCU's Amber Steinhardt managed to draw a popup out of pinch hitter Jamie North to give the Catamounts the victory.
Tiffany Mills went the distance and suffered the loss for the Wolverines, while Katie King started for Western Carolina and lasted four innings to earn the win for her squad.
Robinson and Uresti led UVU from the plate. Robinson went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and Uresti finished 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored.
After dropping the close first game of the day, UVU once again found itself trailing Marist (1-4) early on after the Red Foxes scored two runs in the second inning to lead 2-0. The Wolverines then responded in the top of the third inning to tie the game at two-all thanks to an RBI single from Robinson and an RBI groundout from Breanna English.
The Red Foxes answered with another run of their own in the last of the third to take a 3-2 lead, but freshman Megan Peay came into the contest to replace starter Cassie Herrera and pitched well for the Wolverines in shutting down Marist's offense.
In the fifth inning, Robinson continued her hot bat on the day by belting her fourth home run of the season and third of the weekend with a two-run shot to put the Wolverines on top for good. Utah Valley then scored two more insurance runs in the sixth. Amanda Perez drove home the first run of the frame with an RBI double and Schulz added the other with an RBI groundout.
Peay picked up her first collegiate victory for UVU as she pitched an inning and a third of scoreless relief. Mills also added her first save of the season by also holding Marist scoreless for the final two frames.
Robinson had a huge Game 2 from the plate as she once again finished 3-for-4 with three RBIs and a run scored. North also finished with a multiple-hit game as she went 2-for-3.
Overall Robinson finished 6-for-8 with on the day with five RBIs and a run scored.
"Robinson has been very, very steady for us offensively," Fairbourne added. "As a team we are getting better and better (offensively) as well. Each day it is someone different who is stepping up and it doesn't always have to be hits. A lot of people are doing the little things right now. We won game two today with a complete team effort."
The Wolverines were originally scheduled to play host N.C. A&T late Saturday afternoon as well but ran out of daylight and the contest has been pushed back to Sunday beginning at 9 a.m. ET/7 a.m. MT. A tournament championship game was also originally scheduled for Sunday afternoon but might not be played, as teams have travel plans out of town late on Sunday.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics visit WolverineGreen.com.
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