BYU, Utah State softball: Cougars rally late to top Aggies, 6-4
PROVO — Utah State's softball team seemingly had Brigham Young right where it wanted late in Saturday afternoon's game.
The Agggies led 4-3 heading into the final inning.
BYU had other plans, however, as it hit two home runs to rally past USU, 6-4, in a nationally televised game on BYUtv from Miller Field.
Freshman outfielder Hailey Froton led the way for the Aggies with two hits and one RBI. USU dropped to 14-28 overall and 2-10 in Western Athletic Conference play while BYU improved to 28-12 overall and 7-3 in league action following a sweep of the three-game series.
The Aggies came out swinging in the top of the first inning, as they put together back-to-back hits with two outs. Junior infielder Christine Thomsen singled and was followed with another single from freshman outfielder Hailey Froton to put a runner in scoring position. The offense could not take advantage of the early opportunity, though, as BYU got the next out to end the inning.
BYU's offense got the scoring immediately after that, scoring three runs in the bottom of the first frame. The Cougars took advantage of two walks issued by senior starting pitcher Dani Chaplin. BYU's Delaney Willard doubled to score two runs, which was followed by a single to bring Willard in to score, giving the Cougars a 3-0 lead.
USU threatened once again in the top of the second, putting together two hits in the inning by freshman utility player Nicole Arata and sophomore outfielder Annie Thomas to once again put a runner in scoring position. The Aggies again could not capitalize on the chance and stranded the runners.
Utah State did, however, take advantage of opportunities in the third.
Utah State put itself on the board in the top of the third inning as Thomsen and Froton went to work once again. Thomsen drove a single into left field and was promptly followed by a double off the right center-field fence from Froton, scoring Thomsen from first.
USU added another run in the inning as sophomore catcher Samantha Miller knocked a ball to the second baseman, and it was misthrown, allowing Froton to race around third and score.
The Aggies then took their first lead in the top of the fourth by scoring two runs on two hits. Senior infielder Tatem Day started the inning off with a bloop single to center field, then Thomas followed Day with a perfectly executed bunt single to put a runner in scoring position.
Sophomore outfielder Kassandra Uchida moved both base runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt before sophomore infielder Allison Lenzora laid down a suicide squeeze to score Day from third.
Thomas also came in to score as there was miscommunication and a poor throw that allowed her to safely slide across the plate as Utah State took a 4-3 lead into the bottom of the fourth.
USU put together another scoring chance in the top of the sixth as Lenzora walked and advanced to third on two wild pitches with Thomsen at the plate. However, Thomsen lined out to the BYU shortstop, who threw to third to get a diving Lenzora, who was called out by a finger tip, to end the inning and the scoring threat.
Junior relief pitcher Shelbi Tyteca found herself in the bottom of the sixth inning with the bases loaded and only one out, but Tyteca kept composed and was able to induce two ground outs in a row to end the inning and silence the threatening Cougars.
BYU would not surrender, however, as lead-off batter in the bottom of the seventh Delaney Willard smashed a ball deep over the center-field fence to tie the game at 4-4. After a walk, Stacey Toney came to the plate and delivered for the Cougars with a two-run walk-off home run to center, giving BYU a 6-4 win.
Chaplin was charged with the loss and is now 3-6 on the season, while Tori Almond, who entered in the fifth inning with one out, got the win for the home team and is now 10-2.
Utah State will next see action back home in the friendly confines of Johnson Field as it takes on border-foe Idaho State on Wednesday, with first pitch being delivered at 4 p.m. MT.
Doug Hoffman is the assistant athletic director for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.
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