Utah State softball continued its play in the Red Desert Classic on Saturday, as it faced Loyola Marymount and Southern Utah. LMU stand out starting pitcher Dana Waldusky put together a one-hit outing to corral the USU offense as the Lions went on to defeat the Aggies, 3-0. Utah State could not rebound against in-state rival Southern Utah, as the Thunderbirds defeated USU, 4-1.
In the opening game of Saturday’s action, the Aggies looked to avenge last season’s, 5-1, loss to the Lions in Los Angeles, Calif. Loyola Marymount would not surrender a win easily, however, as LMU jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning.
The Lions would add to their lead late in the game by plating a solo run in the top of the sixth, to take a 3-0 lead into the final two frames of the game.
USU failed to gain any offensive traction against Loyola Marymount’s starting pitcher Waldusky, who recorded her second win of the season as she improves to 2-0. Junior infielder Kassandra Uchida broke up Waldusky's no-hit bid in the bottom of the sixth with an infield single to the second basemen. The Aggies went on to record two more hits, coming from sophomore outfielder Jolene Koons and freshman infielder Libby Pederson.
Aggie starter and freshman pitcher Noelle Johnson was tagged with her second loss of the season and is now 0-2 on the young season.
In the second game of the day, Utah State looked to ground in-state foe Southern Utah. Saturday was the first of three scheduled meetings between these two teams. USU will next see SUU in the Hillenbrand Invitational in Tucson, Arizona. The second meeting of these two teams is set for Feb. 15 at 11 a.m. (MT). Both teams entered Saturday’s game in search of their first win of the season.
The Thunderbirds put the Aggies behind early by scoring two runs in the top half of the second inning.
Utah State could not respond right away, but in the bottom of the third, it was able to score a run as sophomore Nicole Arata produced a sacrifice fly that allowed Uchida to score from third, pulling USU within one, 2-1, heading into the fourth frame.
Southern Utah once again found its offense in the top of the fifth inning and scored another run to further separate itself from USU. SUU threatened to blow it open late in the game as it was able to advance a runner to third with two outs. The runner would come in to score as a pitch snuck away from junior catcher Kelsie Webster pushing the score to 4-1 heading into the final at-bats for Utah State. With one out in the bottom of the seventh, junior outfielder Rachael Hunsaker put herself in a scoring position in the final stanza with a hard hit ball to centerfield that landed for a double. But USU could not convert the runner into a score and committed the next two outs to end the inning.
The Aggies put together six hits in their outing against the Thunderbirds, including two players with multiple hit games in Uchida and sophomore outfielder Hailey Froton.
Utah State will conclude play in the Red Desert Classic on Sunday with a bout against Summit League foe South Dakota. First pitch is set to be delivered at 1:30 p.m. (MT).
Doug Hoffman is the assistant athletic director for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.