In a set of games that were centered around pitching and defense, UT Arlington (20-24, 4-12) came away with back-to-back eighth inning walk-off wins by identical scores of 1-0 against Utah State (10-40, 4-13 WAC) on Friday as USU produced 10 hits in the two games but couldn't score any runs.
In the opening game of the doubleheader, pitching and defense took center stage as neither team could gain any offensive traction against the other. USU senior starting pitcher Mandy Harmon worked seven scoreless innings and surrendered only two hits to UT Arlington as she recorded her third-consecutive Western Athletic Conference complete game.
UT Arlington finally broke through in the bottom of the eighth frame as it was able to load the bases on two fielding errors by the Utah State defense and a hit-by-pitch. Taylor Zink for the Mavericks worked the count full against Harmon and laid off a pitch just outside the zone to draw a bases loaded walk that sunk USU, 1-0.
Four Aggies tallied a hit in the game as junior infielder Allison Lenzora, senior infielder Christine Thomsen, Harmon and freshman pinch-hitter Sarah Chow hit safely in the game.
In the final game of Friday’s action, it felt like a bout of deja vu from the earlier game as neither team produced a run through seven innings of play. Freshman starting pitcher Noelle Johnson was in the circle for USU and worked 8.0 innings, recording five strikeouts and only surrendered five hits to the home team. The game winning run scored in the bottom of the eighth inning was unearned because of a fielding error.
In the top of the eighth inning, the Aggies put a runner in scoring position as Thomsen reached on an error and pinch runner junior outfielder Annie Thomas moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from freshman infielder Libby Pederson. However, Utah State could not convert the chance as it committed the final two outs of the frame.
UT Arlington wasted no time in creating a threat of its own as it was able to put runners on second and third with two out when Kallan Thompson delivered a bloop single over second base to give the Mavericks there second walk-off win of the day, 1-0.
USU will wrap up action in the WAC series with a single game Saturday that is set to get underway at 12 p.m. (MT).
Doug Hoffman is the assistant athletic director for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.