The Utah Valley University softball team found itself on the wrong end of a 12-4 run-rule contest to in-state foe Weber State in UVU's Red Desert Classic opener on Friday evening in St. George.
The Wolverines drop to 2-6 on the year with the setback, while the Wildcats improve to 7-10 with the win.
The Wildcats struck first in the contest by scoring a pair of runs in the top of the first inning to jump out to a 2-0 lead. UVU answered right back, however, with a run of its own in the last of the frame to cut the deficit to 2-1. After back-to-back one-out singles from Abbie Tuttle and Basia Query, the two both advanced into scoring position thanks to a wild pitch. A few moments later, Tuttle managed to come home on a sacrifice fly from Caragh Morris to cut the deficit in half.
The score remained 2-1 until the third when Weber State managed to drive home six runs to take an 8-1 advantage. All six runs came in with two away in the frame and five of the six were unearned. Ali Belloc delivered the big blow in the inning with a three-run home run.
The Wildcats later tacked on four more insurance runs in the top of the fifth to extend their lead to 12-1. Juliana Tricarico, McKinley Brinkerhoff and Ashlyn Visser all drove in runs in the frame for WSU.
UVU didn't go away, however, as it countered back with a trio of runs in the last of the fifth to try and extend the game. Eryn Sustayta started the rally with a leadoff double and Peyton Angulo immediately followed with a single to put runners on the corners with nobody out. With one away, Kawehi Kahana then followed with an RBI single to make it 12-2. After a strikeout, Brianna Moeller and Lyndsay Steverson followed with back-to-back RBI singles of their own to make it 12-4. With runners on second and third, Madison Sisco then struck out to end the threat.
Tatiana Su'esu'e (1-0) went the distance in the circle for Weber State to earn her first victory, while Makayla Shadle (0-2) suffered the defeat for UVU after giving up three earned runs (eight total) in 4.0 innings of work.
Tuttle and Steverson led Utah Valley at the plate by going 2-for-2 apiece. Tuttle added two runs scored and Steverson chipped in an RBI, while Belloc led WSU with a 2-for-2 outing with a home run and three RBIs.
The Wolverines continue Red Desert Classic play on Saturday with two more games. UVU will first face Boise State at noon, before taking on Nevada at 2:30 p.m. Utah Valley will then close the weekend by taking on Weber State and Southern Utah on Sunday.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit GoUVU.com.