The Utah Valley University softball team managed to pull out a 10-9 extra-inning victory over St. John's before falling to Idaho State, 7-3, on Saturday afternoon at the Colorado State Classic in Fort Collins, Colorado.
Trailing St. John's 9-7 in the final inning, UVU (6-10) scored two runs in the seventh to force extra innings and the go-ahead run in the eighth en route to recording the extra-inning win over the 2017 Big East champion Red Storm (5-13). Then, with the Wolverines holding a 3-1 lead in the fifth over ISU, the Bengals (1-12) scored six unanswered runs on their way to defeating Utah Valley in Saturday's second game.
Game one vs. St. John's
Trailing 3-1 in the early stages of the opener to the Big East Red Storm, Utah Valley loaded the bases in the fourth thanks to consecutive singles from Abbie Tuttle, Basia Query and Peyton Angulo. With the bases juiced and nobody out, Madison Sisco delivered the big hit with a grand slam to left center to give the Wolverines a 5-3 advantage.
Utah Valley then tacked on two more runs in the top of the sixth to extend its lead to 7-3. Following a double from Query and a single from Angulo, Lyndsay Steverson then drove both home with a clutch two-out, two-run double to the opposite field to give UVU a four-run cushion.
The defending Big East champion Johnnies didn't go away though, as they responded with six runs of their own in the bottom of the sixth to take a 9-7 lead. Following a defensive miscue and a hit, Jessi Bryant followed with a two-run double to make it 7-5. Amelia Ditolvo then pushed home another run on a squeeze bunt, and Lauren Zick tied it with an RBI single to center. Krystal Puga then capped the scoring with a two-run homer to left to give the Red Storm the two-run lead.
With their backs against the wall, the Wolverines responded with a pair of crucial runs in the seventh to tie the game at 7-7. Brianna Moeller and Kirsten Andersen started the rally with back-to-back hits to put the tying runners on the base paths with nobody out. Following a strikeout, Taleigh Williams then reached on an error to load the bases. With one out and the bases loaded, Query hit into a fielder's choice, but thanks to aggressive base running Moeller and Andersen came in to score on the play to tie the game.
Reliever Makayla Shadle then retired the side in order in the bottom of the seventh to send the game to extras.
With Angulo placed on second in the eighth because of the international tiebreaker being in effect, UVU drove her home in the inning to take a 10-9 lead in the top of the eighth. Sisco started the rally with a leadoff single. After consecutive outs, Moeller then delivered what proved to be the game-winning hit with an RBI single to left to drive Angulo in and give Utah Valley the one-run advantage.
Even with a runner placed on second base to open the last half of the eighth, Shadle continued her stellar relief by retiring the Red Storm in order to help UVU hold on for the extra-inning win over the Big East Johnnies.
Shadle (2-4) earned the win for UVU after pitching 2.1 innings of scoreless relief. The Wolverine senior did not allow a hit or a run on her way to helping UVU record the victory. McKenzie Murray (1-7) took the loss for the Red Storm after giving up four earned runs on eight hits in 4.0 innings of action.
Tuttle, Query, Angulo, Sisco and Moeller finished with two hits apiece for UVU. Sisco led the way by going 2-for-4 with a grand slam, five RBIs and a run scored.
Game two vs. Idaho State
The Wolverines continued to swing a hot bat in the early stages of the second game, as they jumped out to quick 2-0 lead with a pair of first-inning runs. Skylar Cook walked, stole second and later came in to score the first run of the game on an RBI single from Query. Angulo then followed with a double to right, and Query came in to score on the play on an ISU error to give UVU the early 2-0 advantage.
The Bengals countered back with a run of their own in the last of the first to cut the deficit in half at 2-1. The score remained 2-1 until the fifth when UVU senior Andersen drove home Linnah Rebolledo via a sacrifice fly to give the Wolverines a 3-1 advantage.
ISU struck back with a run in the bottom of the fifth on a solo home run from Genesis Zamora to make it a 3-2 score.
The Wolverines then went down in order in the top of the sixth, but Idaho State's offense erupted in the bottom of the frame by scoring five runs on seven hits to take its first lead of the game. Frankie Tago and Cassidy FitzGerald both delivered two-run homers in the frame, and Kelsey Breer capped the scoring with an RBI single to center to make it 7-3.
Mariah Mulcahy then retired the Wolverines in order for the second-consecutive time in the seventh to seal the win for the Bengals.
Mulcahy (1-7) earned the win in the relief for ISU, while game two starter Shadle (2-5) suffered the loss for the Wolverines.
Steverson led the way for UVU at the plate by going 2-for-3 with a walk.
On deck for UVU
The Wolverines close Colorado State Classic play on Sunday. UVU faces St. John's again at 9 a.m., at CSU's Ram Field. Following that contest, Utah Valley will head north next week for a midweek doubleheader at Boise State on Wednesday, March 14, before heading up to Missoula for a three-game series at Montana from March 15-17.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit GoUVU.com.