UVU softball: seventh-inning slugging lifts UVU to win in series finale
Two home runs and a big RBI double in the do-or-die seventh helped Utah Valley University rally past Seattle University, 13-12, on Saturday afternoon. With the win, UVU avoids the series sweep and concludes its seven-game road trip with a victory.
Trailing 10-9 and down to their final three outs, the Wolverine (11-22, 4-2 WAC) lineup flexed their muscle when senior Debra Lovell led off the seventh with a solo home run. Her second big blast of the game, the shot promptly knotted the score line at 10-10 and kick started the decisive UVU rally.
A walk to Kelli Fox put the go-ahead run on base, and she was plated during the next at-bat when Erin Romero roped a double to score the speedy Fox all the way from first base and give the Wolverines an 11-10 lead. In the ensuing at-bat, Amanda Robinson capped the quick spurt by lashing a two-run home run. The long ball put UVU ahead 13-10 and supplied a pair of critical insurance tallies.
Lisa Maulden of SU (13-25, 2-4 WAC) answered with a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth, but freshman Kelsey Lawton held on to retire to final two batters and seal the WAC victory. Lawton improved to 2-2 with the win, throwing 3.2 innings in relief of starter Josi Summers.
"Before the game started, the girls decided that they were going to get a win today no matter what," UVU head coach Nikki Palmer said. "From there it really became a total team effort. Debra (Lovell) made a small adjustment in pregame that proved to be a huge difference for her at the plate, and Erin (Romero) was locked in and saw the ball very well. Both of them were instrumental in our late rally."
Lovell had also led off the fourth inning with a solo home run, marking her first multi-home run game of the senior's career at UVU. It was also the second multi home run performance of the season for the Wolverines as Dyansty Lauvai also managed the feat against Weber State on March 19. Lovell finished the game 3-for-4 at the plate with three RBIs.
Matching those figures was junior Romero, also going 3-for-4 on Saturday with three RBIs. Romero doubled twice, including an important double in the fifth inning that drove in two. Also getting in on the hit parade were true freshmen Brianna Gatlin and Hailey Kofler. The duo went 3-for-4 and 3-for-5, respectively, helping the Wolverines to a season-best 17 hits for the game.
After falling into a 4-0 hole after the first inning, UVU battled back to regain its first lead at 9-8 after a five-run fifth inning. Entering the frame trailing 8-4, the first four Wolverine batters notched a hit. Gatlin got things rolling with a leadoff double and come in to score on Brittney Vansway's single. In the next at-bat, Kofler singled to push Vansway to third, and Lovell then doubled to bring home another run. Later in the frame, with runners standing on second and third, Romero doubled into the gap to score both baserunners and tie the score at 8-8. A sacrifice fly from Lauvai would eventually plate Romero from third, as UVU took a 9-8 lead.
Having already notched a pair of come-from-behind wins during Friday's doubleheader, SU recaptured the advantage in the bottom of the sixth. Two Redhawk runs made the score 10-9 and set the stage for the pivotal Wolverine push.
Its seven-game road swing now over, Utah Valley returns to Wolverine Field for a busy week. The Wolverines will play five home games next week, kicking things off with a single game against BYU on Tuesday at 3 p.m. UVU will also play host to Santa Clara in non-conference action on Thursday before welcoming Grand Canyon to Orem for a three-game WAC series beginning Friday.
Kellen Hiser is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.