SAN DIEGO - Utah Valley University bounced back from a 5-1 loss in game one to earn a 4-3 victory in game two, splitting the day and the series with the University of San Diego at the USD Softball Complex on Sunday.
UVU (27-17, 9-7 PCSC) and USD (21-24, 6-10 PCSC) alternated wins in the four-game, Pacific Coast Softball Conference series, settling for a 2-2 share of the weekend.
After posting just one run through Sunday's first 12 innings, the Wolverines got the production it needed in game two's top of the sixth. Trailing 1-0, UVU had runners on first and second with one away. Kylee Brinkerhoff lined a double into right field, bringing home pinch-runner Marie Williams and leveling the score. In the next at-bat, Dynasty Lauvai singled in another run to bring Jamie North to the plate with runners on first and third. The catcher delivered another base hit up the middle as Brinkerhoff came in to score. A throw from USD center fielder Dana Prelsnik got away on the play, allowing Morgan Summers, pinch-running for Lauvai, to reach home as well. When the dust had settled, the Wolverines found themselves with a 4-1 lead late in the ballgame.
Still, the Toreros got a run back in the bottom half of the sixth and nearly completed the comeback in the do-or-die seventh inning. The first three hitters of that inning all reached safely, with Chloe Kaneko providing an RBI single to cut the deficit to just 4-3. UVU pitcher Josi Summers then entered the game in relief of Tiffany Mills, but her first pitch skipped to the backstop. The wild pitch allowed Prelsnik and Kaneko - representing the tying and winning runs - to move into scoring position with still no outs. With runners on second and third and little room for error, Summers struck out Schultz for the first out. She then walked Crawford, but on ball four, Prelsnik was caught straying from third base. The run down resulted in another out, and Summers was able to get Mary Grabowski to pop out to shortstop to seal the win.
It was Summers' second save of the season while Mills improved to 13-11 on the year with the win. Brinkerhoff was the only Wolverine with multiple hits in the game, going 2-for-3 for the second straight contest.
"I didn't feel like we really made all the plays that we should have made," head coach Rachel Hartgrove said. "But we had the one big inning and we were able to hold on. Tiffany Mills through really well until the seventh and I was happy to see Josi come in and close the door."
UVU posted nine hits in game one but struggled to push base runners home in falling 5-1. Amanda Robinson went 3-for-4 with a double, and Brinkerhoff finished the game 2-for-3, but the Wolverines stranded nine runners in its second loss of the series.
San Diego broke the game open in the bottom of the third inning with a pair of RBI triples. Both Prelsnik, who came through with the game-winning triple in Saturday's win, and Caitlin Rooney delivered three-baggers as the Toreros tallied four hits in the frame and grabbed a 3-0 lead. The big inning came on the heels of a UVU top half in which the Wolverines left the bases loaded.
Looking to bounce back in the fourth, the Wolverines got back-to-back singles from Cortinas and Brinkerhoff to lead off the inning. But Torero pitcher Cassidy Coleman retired the next three UVU hitters in order, keeping her shutout on the board.
The Wolverines finally broke through in the top of the fifth with a pair of two-out hits. With two away and nobody on, Krystin Jachim singled and advanced to second on a fielding error. A double from Debra Lovell in the next at-bat plated Jachim and cut the deficit to 3-1.
But USD got that run back, and more, in the bottom of the fifth. Back-to-back defensive errors from UVU saw one run home before the Toreros added a two-out RBI single to set the final tally to the scoreboard.
Summers (9-6), who had pitched a two-hit, complete game shutout on Saturday, took the loss after going 4.2 innings and giving up 10. Megan Peay came on in relief, throwing 1.1 scoreless innings.
The loss was the first by more than two runs for UVU since a 5-1 loss to Saint Mary's on March 23.
"We definitely struggled with USD's pitching this weekend," Hartgrove said. "They have a really good staff; they kept us down and we just failed to adjust. Still, I thought a few of our players had solid weekends, particularly Kelli Fox and Brinkerhoff."
Utah Valley now returns to Orem for its final home conference series of the season. The Broncos of Santa Clara will visit Wolverine Field for a four-game tilt beginning Saturday at 12 p.m. MT.
Kellen Hiser is sports information assistant at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.
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