POCATELLO, Idaho — The Utah Valley University softball team set a new single-season school record for wins by notching its 28th and 29th victories of the 2012 season Sunday, as the Wolverines swept a doubleheader at Idaho State University on its final day of Pacific Coast Softball Conference play.
Behind solid pitching from Tiffany Mills the Wolverines (29-22-1, 10-10 PCSC) took the first game 3-2 and Amanda Perez's walk-off home run in the eighth inning of Game 2 gave UVU the second game as well, 4-2.
UVU finished tied for second place in the PCSC Mountain Division with the 10-10 conference record. Portland State won the division with a 15-5 mark and will face Saint Mary's (15-4), who won the Coastal Division, in the PCSC Championship Series with a berth in the NCAA Tournament on the line.
"Both games were great team wins," said UVU head coach Todd Fairbourne. "The kids overcame numerous injuries that sent starters to the bench and did their jobs. Others came off the bench for hits and what can you say about (Amanda) Perez? She ended her homerless drought in grand fashion."
Kylee Brinkerhoff helped Utah Valley break a scoreless tie in the first game as she hit a two-run home run to center in the third inning.
The Bengals (12-36, 7-13 PCSC) then cut the deficit in half with a solo homer from Amanda Fitzsimmons in the fourth and then tied the game at 2-2 in the top of the sixth with another solo shot, this time from Hailey Breakwell.
Despite an error by the Wolverines to start the top of the seventh, starter Tiffany Mills mowed down the next three Bengal batters she faced to record her 21st complete game of the season.
For the contest she allowed just two runs on four hits while striking out seven and walking just one. The win was Mills' 15th (15-14) of the season, which is a new UVU single-season school record, breaking Josi Summers' mark of 14 that she set just last year. Mills' 21st complete game also sets a new school record breaking Summers' old mark of 20 she also set in 2011.
ISU got on the board first in the finale with Fitzsimmons' third home run of the series to give the Bengals a 1-0 lead in the third.
The score remained the same until the fifth when Idaho State managed to piece together a rally to score another run to take a 2-0 lead. UVU then finally got to ISU's starter Christina Rayner in the sixth when Perez belted a two-run homer to center to tie the game a 2-2.
The Bengals then threatened in the top of the seventh as the leadoff batter reached on error but she was stranded at third as Mills, who came on in relief in the fifth inning, retired the next three batters to get out of the jam unscathed. ISU's reliever, Fitzsimmons, then sent the game to extra innings by returning the favor to the Wolverine hitters as she retired them in order in the last of the seventh.
Mills then mowed down the Bengals in order in the top of the eighth and UVU won it in the bottom of the frame with the walk-off homer from Perez. Prior to Perez's homer, North started the inning with a leadoff single and Perez followed it with her second home run of the game.
Megan Peay started in the circle for the Wolverines and gave up two runs and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings. Mills came on in relief of Peay and pitched the final 3 2/3 innings of work and allowed just one hit and no runs to get credit with another win (16-14). ISU's Fitzsimmons was tagged with the loss in relief (11-13).
Perez led UVU offensively with an impressive 3-for-4 performance with two home runs and all four RBIs. North also finished with two hits in the game.
The Wolverines will next play BYU on back-to-back days, as they'll meet up in Provo on Tuesday and in Orem on Wednesday. Game time is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday night at Gail Miller Field and 5 p.m. Wednesday evening at Wolverine Field.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit www.WolverineGreen.com.