A four-run first inning helped Utah State's softball team capture its fifth win of the season on Saturday, as it defeated Big Ten foe Indiana, 6-3.
USU has won three straight games in the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic and is off to its best start through seven games since 2010, matching a 5-2 mark from two seasons ago.
The Aggies jumped out to an early lead in the top of the first inning when sophomore outfielder Kassandra Uchida singled up the middle, followed by a single by freshman utility player Jolene Koons.
With Utah State threatening, a pitch got away from Indiana that advanced the runners to second and third. Junior infielder Christine Thomsen came to the plate and delivered the first run of the ball game with an RBI line-drive single to right field.
With runners on first and third, senior infielder Kelley Kanershiro dug in at the plate and drilled a three-run home run to put USU up 4-0. The Aggies scored four runs on five hits in the top of the first inning.
Utah State would add to its lead in the top of the fourth inning when Uchida advanced to second on a single by Koons to put a runner in scoring position. With two outs, Kaneshiro would strike out swinging, but the catcher was unable to corral the pitch, which allowed Uchida to come around and score from second and advance Koons to third.
Another Lora Olson pitch got away from the catcher that led to Koons scoring the second unearned run of the inning for USU, stretching the lead to 6-0 before IU could close out the inning.
Aggie starting pitcher junior Bailee Tyteca would not allow Indiana to gain any momentum offensively and only allowed two hits through four innings.
The Hoosiers looked to put together a late-game rally in the bottom of the fifth when Shelby Gogreve doubled to left field. Lindsay Callanan would pinch run for Gogreve and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Jena Malmen hit Callanan with a double up the gap in left center.
However, junior pitcher Mandy Harmon entered the game for Utah State and neutralized Indiana’s bottom of the fifth threat, closing out three of the four batters she faced.
The Aggies were unable to add to their lead in their final two at-bats and looked to rally around their defense to close out the game. IU came out in the bottom of the sixth looking to close the gap on Utah State. After making two quick outs, the Hoosiers would go on to score two runs on USU, closing the gap to a three-run difference, 6-3, before making their final out of the inning.
Utah State’s defense tightened in the bottom half of the seventh inning and didn'tnot allow the Hoosiers to threaten in the 6-3 lead it had created. Tyteca earned her third win of the season in as many starts and led Utah State to its third win in the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic.
USU will conclude play in the Desert Classic on Sunday with two games. First up for the Aggies will be Big 12 opponent, Texas Tech, which is 3-4 in the young season. Opening pitch is set for 12:45 p.m.
Utah State will then face No. 25 LSU in its second matchup of the day.
Doug Hoffman is the assistant athletic director for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.