Behind solid pitching from Lauren Frailey Spendlove and Makayla Shadle, as well as timely hitting, the Utah Valley University softball team capped Colorado State Classic play with a 4-2 win over St. John's on Sunday morning at CSU's Ram Field.
With the win, UVU (7-10) posted a 3-2 outing on the weekend with a pair of wins over the defending Big East champion Red Storm (5-15).
"The difference in this weekend was how we came together as a team. We were able to be selfless teammates and everyone single girl played a role in our success," freshman utility Peyton Angulo said. "Everyone took their role seriously. We found team love this weekend and competed every single pitch."
After an hour delay due to cold weather, the Johnnies were the first to get on the scoreboard thanks to pushing across a run in the top of the first inning to jump out to a 1-0 advantage. The Wolverines then quickly countered back with a run of their own in the bottom of the frame to tie the score at 1-1. Angulo started the threat with a two-out double to left and Basia Query promptly followed with an RBI single up the middle to deadlock the score at 1-all.
UVU then managed to drive in a run in the second and another in the third to take a 3-1 lead. Following a second-inning triple from Brianna Moeller, Caragh Morris drove her home with an RBI single to right to give the Wolverines the early lead. Angulo and Query then reached base in the third, and Lyndsay Steverson drove in pinch-runner Linnah Rebolledo to give UVU a 3-1 advantage.
The game remained 3-1 until the fifth when St. John's managed to manufacture a run to make it a one-run contest at 3-2.
Still 3-2 in the sixth, Moeller continued her stellar play on the weekend with a leadoff solo homer to right center to extend UVU's lead to 4-2.
After scoring a run off her in the fifth and threatening in the sixth, Utah Valley reliever Shadle then bounced back nicely in the seventh by mowing down the Red Storm in order to record a three-inning save. Shadle gave up just one run on two hits in relief to get credit with her first save of the season, while the 2017 WAC Pitcher of the Year Frailey Spendlove — who recently returned to action from an injury — allowed just one run on four hits in 4.0 innings to earn her first victory of the season.
Moeller and Query led the Wolverines offensively in the ballgame by each going 2-for-3. Moeller added a triple, a home run, an RBI and two runs scored, while Query chipped in a run batted in of her own.
"This weekend was a huge turning point in our performance as a whole. There has been a missing piece the past few weekends, but something clicked and we really came together and played to each other's strengths," said senior pitcher Shadle. "Defense did a great job, the pitchers hit their spots and the hitters put pressure on our opponents and created big innings offensively. Overall I'm really proud of how we all worked together. I'm excited to see what we bring to the table next."
Utah Valley also previously defeated St. John's, 10-9 in eight innings, on Saturday and Idaho State, 6-3, in the tournament opener on Friday. Sunday's contest marked UVU's final action in preseason tournament play.
The Wolverines continue play on the road next week with a midweek doubleheader at Boise State followed by a three-game series at Montana. UVU will first head to Boise for a twin bill at Boise State on Wednesday, March 14, followed by a three-game series at Montana that will run Thursday through Saturday, March 15-17. Following the trip, Utah Valley will return home for its home opener on Wednesday, March 21, against both Idaho State and Utah State.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit GoUVU.com.