Senior pitcher Josi Summers limited the WAC's top-ranked offense to just one run and the Utah Valley University softball team earned a 4-1 victory over No. 1 seed New Mexico State on Friday at the WAC Softball Tournament.
UVU (16-40) now advances to face second-seeded Kansas City in a semifinal game at 3 p.m. MT. The winner moves on to Saturday's championship while the loser plays in an elimination game at 8 p.m. on Friday.
In her second straight complete game effort, Summers struck out five Aggies (29-22) and allowed only one run on three hits. Two of the three hits surrendered came in the sixth inning when NM State pushed its only run across with a double and single. She also took a no-hitter into the fourth inning for the second straight contest.
The Aggies had entered the WAC Tournament as the WAC's most potent offense with a team batting average of .318 - more than 20 points clear of second place. NM State also leads the conference in total home runs and RBIs.
Offensively, Utah Valley was led by a 2-for-3, two-RBI day from freshman Brittney Vansway. The second team All-WAC selection drove in both her runs in timely situations, dropping in an RBI single with two outs in the first and again in the sixth.
Debra Lovell got her first RBI of the tournament when she homered to left field in the third inning, giving UVU a 2-0 lead to that point. It was the eighth home run of the year for the senior. Amanda Robinson also picked up an RBI on Friday morning, plating Morgan Summers on a sacrifice fly.
Kelli Fox had a two-hit day, both infield singles, as did Erin Romero. Romero tallied singles in each of her first two at-bats to bring her WAC Tournament line to 5-for-5 before she was finally retired on a sharply hit line drive straight to the right fielder in the fifth.
Utah Valley threatened early and often against NM State, tallying hits in six of the game's seven innings. The Wolverines left 11 runners on base for the game but did not pay for it behind the steady arm of Summers in the circle.
Having pitched to a complete-game victory over Bakersfield in the opener, Summers looked to be in command early. She first faced trouble in the fourth when the Aggies put runners on the corners with two outs, but a ground ball to Vansway at second base ended the threat. The senior also walked the first batter of the seventh inning but recovered quickly and retired the next three to secure the victory.
UVU and UMKC last met in late March in a three-game, WAC series. The Kangaroos claimed the series at home, winning two of the three games. UMKC advanced to Friday's semifinal by virtue of an 8-5 victory over host Seattle U in a first round game that was delayed by rain for more than eight hours.
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