Linsey Craig, UVU Athletics
OREM, Utah - Holding a three-run lead and needing just three outs for a victory, Utah Valley University surrendered five runs in the top of the seventh as it fell in disappointing fashion to Idaho State, 8-6, in a non-conference game Wednesday at Wolverine Field.
After overcoming an early 3-1 deficit to take a 6-3 advantage into the top of the seventh, UVU (24-15) struggled to retire the hard-hitting Bengals (17-18) as all five ISU runs were tallied before the first out of the inning was even recorded.
The first two Bengal hitters reached base to begin the-do-or-die inning, bringing Vicky Galasso - ISU's top hitter with a .456 average - to the plate as the potential tying run. The sophomore catcher came through, ripping a single up the middle to score a run and cut the deficit to 6-4.
A walk to Terah Blackwell loaded the bases and first baseman Maddy Hickman laced a double into left-center field, bringing home two more and tying the score at 6-6. With runners now on second and third with no outs, head coach Rachel Hartgrove made a pitching change, trading starter Tiffany Mills for Josi Summers out of the bullpen.
Facing Becky Molyneaux, Summers surrendered a single into center field as the Bengals suddenly took the lead at 7-6. A passed ball to begin Hailey Breakwell's at-bat allowed another run to scurry home, and the Wolverines found themselves trailing 8-6 with still nobody out.
A walk to Breakwell restored runners to first and second before UVU finally recorded an out as outfielder Katee Wiley grounded into a fielder's choice.
The threat remained when Micheala Taylor worked a walk to load the bases and turn the lineup over, but Summers finally escaped the inning by retiring Amanda Fitzsimmons on an infield fly and striking out Katelyn Marquez.
Morgan Summers reached on a throwing error to open the UVU half, but that's as far as the Wolverine rally would get. Cassie Herrera lined out to third and Summers was doubled off first base before Marie Williams was retired to end the game.
Utah Valley had its own big inning earlier in the ballgame, hanging a five spot in the bottom of the fourth. Krystin Jachim provided the key hit, ripping a two-RBI double off the wall in left field. Also picking up RBIs in the inning were Amanda Robinson and Jazmyne Cortinas.
The five-run inning put the Wolverines out in front 6-3 at that point but was not enough to top an ISU team that sits in the top 25 nationally in team home runs and batting average.
Cortinas would finish the game 3-for-4 with a pair of runs batted in, while Jachim upped her Pacific Coast Softball Conference leading batting average to .420 with a 2-for-3 day.
UVU has a bye from PCSC play this weekend and will resume play Tuesday with another non-conference contest at Utah State. From there, the Wolverines head west for a four-game, conference series with the University of San Diego.
Kellen Hiser is sports information assistant at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.
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