After dropping the first two games of the opening Western Athletic Conference series against Seattle University on Friday, the Utah Valley University softball team responded by winning a wild 8-7 game in 10 innings of play on Saturday afternoon at Logan Field in Seattle.
After having a 7-1 lead erased earlier in the contest, the Wolverines (9-18, 1-2 WAC) had to bounce back with solid relief work down the stretch from Addie Jensen and by manufacturing the go-ahead run in the top of the 10th inning via a sacrifice fly from Lyndsay Steverson to help UVU earn the hard-fought extra-inning victory.
"Watching our team come back and fight for 10 innings truly shows how resilient we are. We have so much fight and grit, and it's really cool to be able to go to battle with these girls," junior infielder Madison Sisco said. "It didn't matter what happened on the other side of the field; we had confidence and determination to win that game from start to finish. Today was a big step for our team as a whole."
Jensen pitched brilliantly for UVU out of the bullpen, as she gave up just two hits and no runs in 5.2 innings of relief. She also struck out three and didn't give up a hit into her fifth inning of relief to improve to 5-8 on the season.
Brianna Moeller led the Wolverines at the plate by going 3-for-5 with an RBI, while Kirsten Andersen went 2-for-5 with a run scored and a run batted in and Basia Query added a 2-for-6 outing with a home run.
After being held scoreless in the second game of the doubleheader on Friday, UVU was the first to get on the board on Saturday thanks to a second-inning solo home run from Sisco to give the Wolverines an early 1-0 advantage.
The Redhawks (24-16, 2-1 WAC) then answered with a solo round tripper of their own in the third from Bailey Thompson to tie the game at 1-1, but back answered Utah Valley with six runs of its own in the top of the fourth to take a 7-1 lead. Query started the scoring with a solo homer to left to give UVU a 2-1 advantage. The Wolverines then loaded the bases on back-to-back-to-back walks from Sisco, Kaylee Bott and Caragh Morris to set the table for the next four hitters. Andersen, Taleigh Williams and Moeller then promptly followed by each driving home a run apiece with consecutive RBI singles to make it 5-1. Peyton Angulo then capped the scoring by reaching on a dropped fly ball that knocked in two more runners to give the Wolverines a 7-1 lead.
Seattle U then managed to get a run back in the last of the fourth thank to a two-out RBI single from Thompson to make it 7-2. SU then drove in five more runs in the fifth to deadlock the score at 7-7. Kaylee Ree and Savannah Loomis delivered the big hits in the inning for the Redhawks with a pair of two-run doubles to tie the game at 7-all.
Utah Valley threatened in the sixth and seventh innings by loading the bases with two away, but SU reliever Andie Larkins managed to escape each jam by retiring Sisco in the sixth and Angulo in the seventh to keep the game tied at 7-7.
UVU reliever Addie Jensen did a nice job of sending the game to extra innings by retiring the Redhawks in order in the bottom of the sixth and bottom of the seventh to keep it a 7-7 ballgame.
In extra innings, Jensen and Larkins seemingly matched one another pitch for pitch as neither side could get anything going off either one of them until the 10th.
In the top of the 10th, the Wolverines finally managed to break through with the go-ahead run to take an 8-7 lead. After Angulo reached on a hit by pitch, Query singled to left center to advance pinch-runner Linnah Rebolledo to third base with just one away. Steverson then drove home Rebolledo with a sacrifice fly to right to give the Wolverines the one-run lead.
The Redhawks threatened in the bottom of the 10th with a leadoff double from Susanne Morris, but Jensen retired the next three batters, including striking out Molly Campbell looking, to end the ballgame.
"Today was important because our team came together," said junior outfielder Brianna Moeller. "This year we have really focused on having each other's backs, and that's exactly what we did. It's great to see all of our hard work and dedication paying off."
The WAC Preseason Pitcher of the Year Larkins (7-5) took the loss for SU after giving up just one run on three hits in 5.0 innings of relief. Thompson led the Redhawks at the plate by going 3-for-5 with two RBIs and a run scored.
The Wolverines now return home to open a six-game homestand on Wednesday, April 4, with a non-conference doubleheader against Boise State at 1 and 3 p.m. MT, at Wolverine Field. Following the twin bill, UVU will then return to conference play when it welcomes Grand Canyon for a three-game league series April 6-7.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit GoUVU.com.