TUCSON, Ariz. — Sophomore outfielder Chalese Fankhauser clubbed the 10th home run of her career, but the University of Utah softball team lost both games of a Pac-12 Conference doubleheader against No. 13 Arizona, 8-0 (six innings) and 3-1, at Hillenbrand Stadium on Tuesday evening.
In the opener, Arizona notched single runs in the first, fourth and fifth frames to gain a 3-0 edge. Utah registered its first hit of the night in the top of the sixth when junior shortstop Kelsi Hoopiiaina knocked a base hit up the middle of the Wildcat defense to extend her current hitting streak to three games.. Senior first baseman Tia Palauni followed with a single off a full-count delivery through the left side of the Arizona defensive alignment to put Ute runners on first and second base. Unfortunately, the Wildcats were able to keep the Utes off the scoreboard.
The Wildcats clinched the victory in run-rule fashion with a five-run sixth frame.
In the nightcap, down 2-0, Fankhauser cut Utah's deficit in half by leading off the third inning with a solo home run off an 0-1 delivery over the left-field wall for Utah's only run of the day. Fankhauser has hit four home runs and has driven in 11 runs this season. She has 10 round-trippers over her career to go with 38 RBIs.
The Utes conclude their series with Arizona in a single game today at noon MT.
UTAH STATE 8, UTAH VALLEY 7: At Logan, Utah State's softball team utilized timely hitting to rally from an early three-run deficit for an exciting 8-7 win and recorded a season-high 15 hits at Utah State's Johnson Field. USU freshman outfielder Hailey Froton delivered two hits, one of which was a two-run homer, and finished the game with three RBIs.
Utah Valley's Krystin Jachim blasted two home runs and finished with four RBIs.
"Pitching didn't get the job done today and we just couldn't come up with the one extra hit we needed. But all things considered, we came close," said UVU head coach Todd Fairbourne. "Jachim tried to carry us but it wasn't quite enough."
USU (12-25, 2-7 WAC) fell behind early to UVU, as it surrendered Jachim's three-run homer to center field in the top of the opening frame. With the Aggies trailing 3-0 in the bottom half of the inning, Froton came to the plate and delivered a two-run homer well over the left-field fence, pulling Utah State to within one run. It was Froton's second long ball of the season.
The Wolverines (24-13-1) added to their lead in the top of the third by plating two runs, pushing their advantage out to a 5-2 lead.
The Utah State offense responded once again as it was able to load the bases with one out. Sophomore catcher Samantha Miller connected with the pitch, sending it deep enough for a sacrifice fly that allowed sophomore infielder Allison Lenzora to cross the plate and pulling USU back to within two runs of Utah Valley at 5-3.
The Aggies surrendered another run to the visiting team in the top of the fourth frame before their offense found its groove in the bottom half of the inning. Utah State knocked five-consecutive singles with one out, scoring three runs on the five hits to tie the game at 6-6 heading into the final three frames.
After a scoreless fifth inning, USU's offense got after it again to take its first lead of the game in the bottom of the sixth. Junior infielder Christine Thomsen got the action started with a double to deep right centerfield, which was followed with a timely hit by senior infielder Lindsey Marquez to move Thomsen over to third. Marquez advanced to second on the throw from the center fielder. Freshman utility player Jolene Koons delivered in the clutch for USU with a two-out single to left-centerfield, scoring both Thomsen and Marquez and giving the Aggies their first lead of the game, 8-6.
Utah State looked to close out UVU in the top of the seventh, but Jachim had other ideas as she hit a leadoff solo home run to start the inning. USU recorded the next two outs of the inning, putting it on the brink of its 12th win of the season, yet once again the Wolverines had other ideas and rallied to load the bases. Reigning Pacific Coast Softball Conference Player of the Week Amanda Robinson kept the inning alive with a walk. Deianna Russell then roped a pinch-hit single and Jessica Uresti was hit by a pitch in the next at-bat to load the bases. The two-out rally would end there, though, as Aggie pitcher Mandy Harmon kept her poise and got Marie Williams to pop out to Miller to end the game.
Harmon picked up her sixth win of the season, improving to 6-13 on the year.
The Aggies will have a short turnaround as they prepare to play a doubleheader this afternoon against another in-state foe, Weber State. First pitch for the opening game is set to be delivered from the circle at 2 p.m. MT. Admission to the games is free and open to the public.
UVU falls to 0-2 on the year against in-state rival Utah State, as the Wolverines dropped the home leg 3-1 in nine innings on April 3. In that game, USU pitcher Dani Chaplin struck out 11 UVU batters, but the Wolverines had greater success against the righty in this contest, tagging her with five earned runs.
Megan Peay (5-2), who started the game, was saddled with the loss for UVU.
Utah Valley returns to action today, remaining on the road for a 6 p.m. contest at BYU. The meeting is the first of three between the Wolverines and Cougars, as the two schools recently agreed to add a game on May 1. UVU returns to league-play on Friday, April 14, when it begins a four-game series at Seattle.