LOS ANGELES — Utah Valley University junior Tiffany Mills outpitched Loyola Marymount's ace Molly Medeiros in the opener of a four-game series at Smith Field in Los Angeles as the Wolverines defeated LMU 3-2. The Lions then battled back to win the second game on their home field 15-5.
With the opening win, UVU tied an NCAA Division I school record for its best start in a season by beginning the year with a perfect 3-0 record. After the split, UVU is now 3-1 on the young season while LMU is 5-3 on the year.
"I'm proud of the girls today. Despite the second game getting out of hand, that first one was just a great game for us on both sides of the ball," UVU head coach Todd Fairbourne said. "It featured two excellent pitchers throwing, big hits and a lot of key plays being made."
In the first inning of game one, Amanda Robinson got the Wolverines on the scoreboard early on by blasting her first home run of the season to put UVU on top 1-0. The Lions immediately countered, however, in the bottom half of the frame with a two-run homer from Sam Fischer to take a 2-1 advantage.
Both starting pitchers then settled down from there as UVU's Mills and LMU's Medeiros both put up zeros for the next couple of innings.
The Wolverines' offense got going once again when they managed to put together a two-run, two-out rally in the fourth inning. Amanda Perez started the rally by drawing a walk, and Deianna Russell followed it up with a single to set the table for Krystin Jachim. Jachim then came through with a two-RBI double to right centerfield that plated pinch runner Kelli Fox and Russell to give Utah Valley a 3-2 lead.
Mills continued to shine in the circle the rest of the way for the Wolverines as she pitched her third complete game in as many chances. After she allowed two hits in the first inning, the Lions could only muster three more hits off her the rest of the game. Two of those hits did come in the last of the seventh, when LMU threatened, but Mills managed to strike out two in the frame to help UVU pull out the victory.
Mills outdueled Medeiros, the reigning Pacific Coast Softball Conference Pitcher of the Year, to pick up her third victory of the season. The Riverside, Calif., Wolverine allowed just two runs on five hits while striking out three.
In the second game, Perez kept the Wolverines' scoring streak in the first inning this season alive with a two-run home run to give UVU an early 2-0 lead.
The Lions answered by putting an eight-spot on the board in the bottom of the first to pull ahead 8-2.
Perez, who also is from Southern California (La Mirada), later added a three-run homer to pull the Wolverines back in striking distance down just 8-5 in the third, but LMU would add seven more late runs to win the second contest of the twin bill, 15-5.
Perez led UVU offensively with an impressive two-home run and five-RBI contest. Marie Williams also added two hits and two runs for the Wolverines.
Mills suffered her first loss of the year in the second game (3-1) while LMU's Dana Waldusky picked up her first victory (1-1).
LMU and UVU are both members of the PCSC, but the games were nonconference affairs as the two play in different divisions in the league. The Lions, who have previously won three PCSC championships, were once again selected in the preseason coaches' poll to win their fourth conference crown while the Wolverines were picked to finish third in the Mountain Division.
The Wolverines and Lions will conclude the four-game series on Sunday with another doubleheader beginning at 11 a.m. MT.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.