Utah State softball dropped both games on Saturday to close out the weekend series with Western Athletic Conference foe Fresno State. The Aggies dropped the first game 8-0 in five innings and lost the second 5-2. USU (11-25, 2-7 WAC) could not get the Bulldog defense to relent as they only surrendered two runs to the Aggies in two games on Saturday.
Fresno State improves to 27-15, 7-1 WAC. In the first game of the day, both teams recorded a scoreless first inning. However, Fresno State broke the game open in the bottom of the second frame, scoring eight runs on six hits before the Aggies were able to neutralize the Bulldog offense.
Utah State looked to rally in the top of the fourth as sophomore outfielder Kassandra Uchida delivered a lead-off bloop single, giving USU its first-base runner for the day. Senior infielder Kelley Kaneshiro worked her way onto the base path after being hit by a pitch, her 11th of the season, and moving a runner into scoring position.
The Aggies could not convert on the chance and ended the inning without further threat. The game was called in after the top of the fifth inning due to the run-rule, with Fresno State leading, 8-0. Utah State starting pitcher senior Dani Chaplin was charged with the loss, dropping her to a 2-4 record on the season, while Fresno State's starting pitcher Michelle Moses picks up her 16th win of the season, improving to 16-10 overall. Junior pitcher Mandy Harmon entered the game with one out in the second and allowed only one run in the two and two-thirds inning of work.
In the final game of the weekend series, Fresno State once again took an early lead, plating a run in the bottom of the first inning to take a 1-0 advantage into the second inning.
Kaneshiro looked to respond in the top of the second as she delivered a lead-off single, giving USU its first base-runner of the day. The Bulldogs handled the threat by converting the next three outs to end the inning.
After a scoreless second, the Aggies once again looked to get on the board as they were able to get runners on first and second on two hits. Junior infielder Christine Thomsen sent a ball to deep center field that looked like trouble, but Fresno State center fielder Brenna Moss made an impressive run-saving catch to end the inning.
The Bulldogs went to work once again offensively, scoring two runs in the bottom of the third, stretching their lead over Utah State to 3-0. Harmon prevented more damage by striking out Kaitlin Griffin to end the inning with the bases loaded for Fresno State.
The home team added two more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, pushing its lead even further, 5-0. Harmon proved her toughness in the fifth, taking a line drive off her thigh and sending her to the ground. Harmon refused to be taken out of the game and rallied back to strike out the next batter to end the inning.
Kaneshiro provided the first offense of the series for USU as she followed a Thomsen walk with a hard hit ball to center field that ended up over the fence for her fifth home run of the season. Those were the first runs scored by the Aggies in their series with Fresno State.
Utah State cut into the Bulldog lead but still trailed, 5-2, entering the bottom of the sixth inning. The Aggies could not cut into the lead and fell to Fresno State, 5-2. Utah State managed to earn six hits in the second game of the day and committed no errors. Harmon was given the loss, putting her at 5-13, while Moses was credited with her 17th win of the year.
USU will look to rebound at home on Tuesday, April 10, as it takes on in-state rival Utah Valley. Last week, the Aggies rallied late to take the first meeting of those two teams, 3-1, in nine-innings.
Doug Hoffman is the assistant athletic director for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.