OREM — Utah Valley University softball coach Todd Fairbourne picked up his 400th career win Saturday with an epic 5-4, 12 inning victory over Weber State University at Wolverine Field.
The Wolverines (27-19-1, 8-8 PCSC) also won a 5-2 decision on the day, but UVU couldn't pull out all three games as it dropped a 4-3 contest to the Wildcats (21-26, 10-6 PCSC), thanks to six Wolverine errors.
"If not for the errors we would have swept," said Fairbourne, who is in his 14th year at UVU. "Our pitching was good and we had a lot of big hits and kids stepped up all day long. Despite six errors in that one game, we still had a chance to win it."
The Wolverines and Wildcats started the day by resuming Friday's second game that was suspended due to darkness tied 4-4 at the end of eight innings. Both Tiffany Mills and Sarah Clark pitched very well for their respective clubs in extras on Saturday despite having to begin every frame starting from the 10th on with a runner on second base. They both managed to put up zeros until the 12th.
With a runner on third and two outs in the last of the 12th, UVU's Marie Williams dropped down a picture-perfect bunt single that won the game in walk-off fashion for the Wolverines scoring Deianna Russell scored from third.
That victory gave Fairbourne his 400th of his career in Orem.
"This is a good team, not just in talent but they are also a good group of kids. It's fun to think back on all the different games and all different girls that have come through here over the years," Fairbourne added on reflecting back on his 400th win. "It meant a lot to me that a couple of the girls from our national championship team were here today. They were aware that I was closing in on 400 so they showed up."
Mills (14-13) got credit for the win in that game, as she pitched the final 6 1/3 innings of scoreless relief. WSU's Clark was the tough-luck loser in that one as she allowed just one hit and one unearned run in 4 2/3 innings of work.
Williams and Amanda Robinson led UVU from the plate in that game with two hits each, an RBI and a run scored.
In the originally scheduled first game on Saturday with the Wolverines trailing 3-2, Robinson tied the game at 3-all in the top of the fifth with rocket-shot home run to leftfield.
The game remained tied at three into the seventh inning when Weber State managed to load the bases and push home an unearned run on a Wolverine throwing error to win the contest, 4-3.
Mills started and pitched the distance in that one and took the loss as she allowed just four hits and two earned runs. WSU's Kelsie Vallies picked up the victory as she pitched the final two innings of no-hit ball to improve to 2-3 on the year.
Robinson and Russell paced the Wolverines offensively. They both recorded two hits apiece and Robinson also drove in two runs.
In the series finale, Utah Valley scored a first inning run thanks to a two-out RBI single from Krystin Jachim to give the Wolverines an early 1-0 advantage.
Cassie Herrera and Morgan Allaband then both put up zeros until the sixth inning when UVU managed to get going again offensively and score two more runs. Back-to-back doubles to start the frame by Russell and Jamie North drove home the first run and the second came in on an RBI triple by Jessica Uresti.
Weber State then scored two runs of its own in the last of the sixth to make it a 3-2 contest, but UVU added two more insurance runs of its own in the seventh to take a 5-2 advantage. Maddy Schulz drove home one of them with a sacrifice fly and the other came in on a Wildcat throwing error.
Mills then struck out the side in order in the last of the seventh to pickup her league-leading eighth save. Herrera pitched the first 4 1/3 innings and allowed just three hits and no runs to earn her eighth win of the season (8-5). WSU's Morgan Allaband was tabbed with the loss to drop to 3-10.
North, Russell and Williams all went 2-for-3 for Utah Valley in the contest, while Lyndsey Minnich led the Wildcats with two hits and an RBI.
For the weekend Mills pitched 20 1/3 innings in just over 24 hours. Mills factored into the decision each of the four games as she went 1-2 with a save. She also recorded 21 strikeouts and the Wildcats hit just .228 off of her.
The Wolverines will next host a non-conference affair against San Jose State at 4 p.m. Thursday. That game will be senior day and both Russell and Amanda Perez will be honored prior to first pitch.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit www.WolverineGreen.com.