A two-run triple from Morgan Summers in the top of the fifth brought Utah Valley University level with No. 1 Oregon in the second of two games Tuesday night, but a UO homer in the sixth was the difference as the top-ranked Ducks took two from the Wolverines, 8-0 and 5-4.
"The girls fought hard and played to win," UVU head coach Nikki Palmer said. "The other coaches and myself are so proud of their resiliency today."
After falling 8-0 in a run-rule shortened contest in game one, thanks in large part to a seven-run first inning from OU (46-5), the Wolverines (14-38) found themselves behind 4-1 after two complete innings in game two. But it was the Wolverines' turn to rally, scoring three runs over the next two innings to bring the game back level.
In the top of the third, Brittney Vansway came through with a two-out, RBI single to make the score 4-2. Josi Flores doubled down the left field line to begin the frame and appeared on the verge of being stranded after the next two Utah Valley hitters were retired. Vansway came through on a 2-2 pitch, though, delivering the base hit for her 23rd RBI of the season.
Then, in the top of the fifth, Morgan Summers came through with UVU's big hit of the day. With the outfielders playing in, Summers lifted a fly ball over the head of the center fielder that rolled all the way to wall. The shot provided ample time for Megan Peay and Flores to scamper all the way home, tying the game at 4-4, while the speedy Summers landed at third.
Entering the game in the top of the first with the score already at 3-0, pitcher Josi Summers settled in through the middle innings, allowing the Wolverines to stay within striking distance. The senior would suffer the game-two loss but did so despite allowing just two earned runs through 5.1 innings pitched while striking out three.
"Josi was on fire today," Palmer said. "She kept them guessing and proved to be a rock for us defensively."
Summers' only mistake came in the bottom of the sixth when pinch-hitter Koral Costa lifted a 2-0 pitch over the wall in center field. The homer — the only of the day for the Ducks — ultimately proved the difference as Cheridan Hawkins shut the door over the final three innings. Hawkins, who entered the game with a 27-3 record and 1.37 ERA, threw three perfect innings in relief to earn the victory.
In game one, UVU managed just one hit against UO's Karissa Hovinga, who went the distance for the win. Senior Dara Rahm, making her first appearance in a Wolverine uniform in her home state of Oregon, came through with the lone tick in the hits column with a bunt single in the top of the fourth.
Utah Valley returns to Utah to close out the regular season when it faces BYU next week in a twinbill in Provo at Gail Miller Field. That doubleheader gets underway Tuesday, May 6 at 5 p.m. MT. From there, the Wolverines head to Seattle for the WAC Tournament, beginning May 8.
Kellen Hiser is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.
Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company