Utah State softball opened the Texas Invitational in Austin by dropping its opening pair of games. Lamar defeated USU, 5-2, in the opening game of the day, while No. 24 Tulsa dispatched the Aggies, 8-0, to close out the first day of action.
In the opening game, the Aggies squared off against Lamar. The Cardinals took flight with an early lead in the bottom of the second inning, scoring three runs on three hits in the frame.
Utah State responded with a solo-run of its own in the top of the third inning, when junior infielder Kassandra Uchida drew a lead-off walk which was followed by junior outfielder Rachael Hunasker driving a single into centerfield. USU loaded the bases as sophomore outfielder Hailey Froton reached on a bunt. Senior starting pitcher Mandy Harmon brought a runner in to score as she was able to draw a two-out bases loaded walk.
Lamar went on to score a run in the bottom of the third as well as another solo run in bottom of the fourth to push its advantage to, 5-1.
The Aggies looked to put together a thrilling late game rally in the top of the seventh as once again Uchida and Hunsaker provided the offensive punch for Utah State. Uchida drove a single through the right-side defense which Hunsaker followed with a double to deep center field that drove Uchida in from first. Utah State committed the final outs of the game without scoring another run, falling 5-2.
Harmon was charged with her seventh loss on the season (0-7), while opposing starting pitcher Shannon Millman was credited with the win.
In the final game of the day, USU took on No. 24 Tulsa. The Golden Hurricanes scored seven runs through the first three innings, adding another run in the top of the fifth to push their lead to an 8-0 advantage. Utah State could not gain any offensive traction against the Tulsa pitchers and the game was called after five innings due to the run rule.
USU starting pitcher senior Shelbi Tyteca was given the loss against Tulsa, falling to 0-1 on the season while the Utah State squad falls to 0-12 on the season.
Utah State will continue its play in the Texas Invitational on Saturday, Feb. 23, with a game against No. 6 Texas with first pitch slated for 11:30 a.m. (MT). The second opponent will be announced once the first day of play is completed and the tournament rankings are announced. Check the www.utahstateaggies.com softball page for up to the minute updates on who USU will be playing tomorrow afternoon.
Doug Hoffman is the assistant athletic director for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.
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