Despite a stellar pitching performance by junior starter Mandy Harmon, the Utah State softball team lost a heartbreaking, 1-0 game to border-rival Idaho State in Pocatello on Tuesday.
With the defeat, the Aggies fall to 15-31 overall, while the Bengals improve to 10-33 this season. Harmon is now 7-15 this season, while Idaho State starter Amanda Fitzsimmons is now 9-10 this year.
Both pitchers started out strong with the Aggies only getting two base runners in the first two innings. The Bengals struck first in the bottom of the second inning. With one out, Courtney Dial singled up the middle. She moved to third on a double to deep left field by Katee Wiley. Dial scored on an error by senior infielder Tatem Day on a ball hit by Shaundee Garrett. ISU took the 1-0 lead after two innings.
In the top of the third inning, Utah State got its first hit of the game with a single by senior infielder Tatem Day. She moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by freshman designated player Jolene Koons and went to third on a wild pitch. The Aggies were not able to bring Day home.
USU threatened again in the top of the fourth inning with a lead-off double to left by sophomore outfielder Kassandra Uchida. After moving to third on a sacrifice, sophomore infielder Allison Lenzora walked to put runners on first and third. The Aggies were not able to capitalize on the base runners as the Bengals fought their way out of the inning.
The Aggies had a similar situation in the top of the fifth inning, leaving two runners on base. Koons and junior infielder Christine Thomsen both reached on one-out hits. Bengal starter Fitzimmons was able to get a fielder's choice and a fly out to end the threat. Thomsen ended the game 2-for-4 with a double. The Aggies also got hits from Uchida, Koons and Day.
Freshman Hailey Froton made a fantastic diving catch in center in the fifth inning to prevent the Bengals from plating any more runs.
Both teams will board buses and face each other on Wednesday, April 25, in Logan at 4 p.m., which is a makeup game after being rained out last week. Following Wednesday's action, the Aggies will look to climb up the WAC standings in a three-game weekend series with New Mexico State. Action in Las Cruces, N.M., will open with a game Friday, April 27, and will conclude with a doubleheader on Saturday, April 28.
Friday's game will be televised through AggieVision and will be available to fans on Altitude Sports or ESPN3.com. Altitude Sports can be found on Comcast Ch. 61, DirectTv Ch. 681 and Dish Network Ch. 410 in Cache Valley. Contact local listings for more information.
Fans can follow USU softball and Utah State athletics at http://twitter.com/USUAthletics. Live stats will be available for all the games at www.utahstateaggies.com on the home page.
Doug Hoffman is the assistant athletic director for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.
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