SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Valley University avenged a prior loss to the University of Utah Tuesday night, topping the Utes 4-1 in the first-ever game at the new Ute Softball Stadium.
First baseman Amanda Robinson went 2-for-3 with two RBIs, while shortstop Krystin Jachim drove in two more. The four runs were more than enough for pitcher Tiffany Mills who went the distance, striking out five and allowing just one earned run.
"I thought we had a great day all-around," head coach Rachel Hartgrove said. "We made great plays defensively and Tiffany threw a heck of a game yet again. Robinson came up big, (Kylee) Brinkerhoff came up big, and up and down the lineup we got hits."
The win was just third all-time for UVU (17-11) in the series and the first in Salt Lake City. Utah was on hand for the Wolverines' home opener on March 5, taking a 4-2 win in 10 innings. This time, UVU returned the favor, grabbing the victory in Utah's first home game of the year.
The Wolverines got the scoring under way in the top of the third inning when Jachim laced a two-out double into the right field gap. The hit easily scored Brinkerhoff and Morgan Summers, who were standing at second and third base and gave the Wolverines a 2-0 lead early.
In the top of the fourth, UVU threatened again. Jamie North singled with one out, and a batter later, Summers pushed her to second base with her second base hit. Now two away, Robinson worked a walk to load the bases for Brinkerhoff. A lengthy at-bat ended when she chopped a grounder toward first base. Making a difficult play up the line, Utah's Katelyn Elliot was able to field the ball and apply the outstretched tag to the streaking Brinkerhoff to prevent another Wolverine run.
Having pitched four scoreless innings, Mills (7-6) found herself in a jam in the bottom half of the fifth. Elliot led off the frame with a single for the Utes and was advanced to second on a groundout in the next at-bat. Shelby Pacheco then reached when her line shot ricocheted off the glove of Jachim at shortstop. That left Utah with runners on first and third with just one out.
With little room for error, Mills got just what she needed when she struck out pinch hitter Shelbi Everett looking. She then escaped the jam and kept the Utes off the scoreboard by inducing a Chalese Frankhauser groundout to first base in the very next at-bat.Comment on this story
After a leadoff single off the bat of Jazmyne Cortinas in the top of the sixth — and a series of sacrifice bunts and throwing errors from Utah — the UVU sent Robinson to the plate with just one out and the bases chock-full of Wolverines. The first baseman pumped a deep shot off the wall in left center, plating two for her 13th and 14th RBIs on the season.
The Utes avoided the shutout with a run in the bottom half after Kate Dickman tripled to score Kelsi Hoopiiaina, but that was all the home side would get. Mills escaped the sixth without allowing another run, then retired Utah in order in the seventh to seal the complete game win.
Utah Valley returns to Orem for a four-game, Pacific Coast Softball Conference set against CSU Bakersfield. The series will be played out with a doubleheader on both Friday and Saturday. First pitch is scheduled for 12 p.m. both days.
Kellen Hiser is sports information assistant at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.