Utah State's softball team (8-10, 0-0 WAC) dropped its first two games in the Long Beach State Invitational on Friday. USU could not keep pace with the high-powered teams it faced on Friday, falling to Pittsburgh 8-0 and No. 24 North Carolina 11-2.
In the first game of the day for the Aggies, Pittsburgh struck first, scoring three runs in the bottom half of the second frame. Maggie Sevilla scored the first run of the inning with a single shot to center field that scored the runner on second. Holly Stevens added two more runs with a hard hit grounder back towards the second baseman that was mishandled, giving the Panthers an early 3-0 advantage.
Pittsburgh would put the game out of reach in the bottom of the of the fourth inning by adding five more runs, pushing its lead to 8-0.
In the second game of the day, Utah State met its second ranked opponent of this season in No. 24 North Carolina.
The two teams went toe-to-toe through the first two innings. USU blinked first however, as UNC exploded in the top of the third inning, scoring five runs to take control on the game. The Tar Heels added another two runs in the top of the fourth to stretch their lead out to a 7-0 advantage.
The Aggies looked to rally in the bottom of the fifth when lead-off hitter, senior infielder Lindsey Marquez, doubled up the middle. Following Marquez’s example, sophomore catcher Samantha Miller knocked a single up the middle of the diamond to put runners on first and third, giving Utah State its first serious threat of the day.
Senior infielder Tatem Day drew a walk to load the bases with one out as sophomore outfielder Kassandra Uchida dug-in at the plate. Uchida delivered an RBI single to right field to get USU on the board. North Carolina’s defense tightened, however, and did not allow another run to cross the plate in the inning.
UNC added four more insurance runs in the top half of the final frame, giving them 11 runs scored.
Utah State once again looked to rally in its final at bat when lead-off hitter Miller drove a ball toward the shortstop for a single. Miller forced the action by stealing second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Uchida delivered with a single through the left side of the infield that scored Miller.
The Aggies are now 8-10 this season and will look to rebound on Saturday with a game against Big Ten opponent Michigan State. Today's game will be the first meeting between these two schools, with first pitch set for 10 a.m.
Doug Hoffman is the assistant athletic director for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.