OREM, Utah — Utah Valley University survived a late surge from Marist to notch a 4-3 victory Wednesday afternoon at Wolverine Field. The win is UVU's ninth in its last 10 games.
Third baseman Debra Lovell led the way for the Wolverines (14-9), going 3-for-3 with a home run in the fourth inning. Shortstop Krystin Jachim added two more RBIs on a first-inning triple, and second baseman Dynasty Lauvai ended her 1-for-3 day with what would prove to be the game-winning RBI in the bottom of the fifth.
"Debra had a very big game," UVU head coach Rachel Hartgrove said. "She's had some struggles this season but her three hits and the home run were huge for us today. Also, Jachim just continues to produce with those two RBIs and a triple. Marist is a good team with solid pitching so this is a good win for us."
Holding on to a 4-0 lead entering the sixth inning, UVU pitcher Josi Summers (4-5) was cruising through another strong outing. The sophomore had allowed just one hit through five innings, but Marist's (6-9) bats caught fire in the sixth.
The Red Foxes' first run came when a fielding error in center field allowed a base runner on first to circle all the way home to score. That tally was quickly doubled as Alyssa Zahka — whose single started the rally — stole home from third base after Aly Klemmer struck out swinging but had to be retired at first with the pitch in the dirt.
Trailing by two runs now with no one on, Marist got another jolt of energy when Christina Lausch drove a solo shot over the wall in left field to make the score 4-3. After Janine Lalli doubled down the right-field line in the next at bat, UVU's Megan Peay took the ball from Summers in the circle. Peay needed just three pitches to retire Sarah Carmody on strikes, halting the threat.
Tiffany Mills would ultimately pick up the save — her second of the season — by recording the last two outs of the ballgame.
"Josi threw another great game for us, but got a little bit tired in that sixth inning," Hartgrove said. "But Peay and Mills did a nice job in relief, striking out every batter that they faced. Marist is really swinging it well lately — they put six runs up on BYU last night — so I was happy with our pitching today."
UVU wasted little time in jumping out in front of the Red Foxes, posting two runs in the bottom of the first inning. With two outs, Amanda Robinson kept the inning alive with a single into left field. Kylee Brinkerhoff then walked to bring Jachim to the plate. A lined shot into the gap in left center promptly plated Robinson and Brinkerhoff, giving the reigning PCSC Player of the Week two more RBIs for a season total to 15.
After two scoreless innings, Lovell tacked on another run taking an 0-1 pitch way out into left center field. The no-doubt shot was her second of the season.
In the bottom of the fifth, Lauvai picked up her team-leading 16th RBI of the season with a two-out single to bring home Brinkerhoff who had doubled earlier in the frame. The run proved to be decisive as the Red Foxes made their move in the next half inning.
UVU is now 3-0 on the season against schools from the Metro-Atlantic Athletic Conference. The Wolverines defeated Saint Peter's and Rider in last week's Rebel Spring Games in Kissimmee, Fla.
The Pacific Coast Softball Conference season opener awaits Utah Valley on Saturday as the Wolverines head west to Moraga, Calif., to face Saint Mary's. The four-game series, consisting of a pair of doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday, gets underway at 1 p.m. MT on Saturday.
Kellen Hiser is sports information assistant at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.