Junior right-hander Addie Jensen pitched a complete-game gem en route to leading Utah Valley University to a doubleheader split against Western Athletic Conference foe Grand Canyon University on a rainy Friday afternoon at Wolverine Softball Field.
Behind Jensen's strong outing, the Wolverines (10-21, 2-3 WAC) took game one, 5-3, before falling in the nightcap, 4-1, to the preseason WAC favorite Antelopes (21-20, 2-3 WAC).
"The first game was a total team effort and we played well. Everyone was making plays in the field, and it's easy for me to do my job when my defense is backing me up," junior pitcher Jensen said. "We also hit the ball well in the opener, and it was nice to have a four-run cushion entering that seventh inning. Overall we played a really great first game, but we need to learn how to take our focus from the game one over to game two to be very successful."
UVU was first to get on the scoreboard as Lyndsay Steverson opened the bottom of the second inning with a single. Steverson then advanced to second on a groundout by Madison Sisco and came around to score on an RBI single from Kaylee Bott to give the Wolverines an early 1-0 lead. Grand Canyon responded right back, however, with a run in the top of the third when Madelyn Dowdle hit a solo homer over the left field fence to tie the game at 1-1.
The game remained 1-1 until the bottom of the fifth when the Wolverine offense managed to push four runs across to take a 5-1 advantage. Brianna Moeller started things off with a single through the left side. Moeller then advanced to second on a fielder's choice and made it to third on a Steverson single. Basia Query singled to left to send Moeller home and give UVU a 2-1 lead.
Sisco kept things going in the fifth as she walked with bases loaded forcing Linnah Rebolledo home from third as she was pinch running for Peyton Angulo. Karly Bunderson, who was pinch running for Steverson, later scored on a GCU throwing error to make it 4-1. Kirsten Andersen then capped the scoring with an RBI single up the middle to drive home Query for the Wolverines' fourth run of the inning to put UVU on top, 5-1.
Leading 5-1 in the seventh, GCU managed to drive in a pair of late runs to make things interesting, but UVU's Jensen battled back to by retiring the final two batters she faced to seal Utah Valley's first win in program history over the defending WAC champion Lopes.
Jensen earned the complete-game victory after allowing just three runs while scattering eight hits and striking out two on her way to improving to 6-8 on the year and 2-1 in league play. Alexa Coons took the loss for the Lopes after allowing three earned runs in 3.1 innings of work to drop to 7-3 on the season.
Steverson led the Wolverines at the plate in the ballgame by going 3-for-4 with a run scored, while Bott added a two-RBI outing by going 1-for-4 with an RBI single in the second and an RBI fielder's choice in the fifth. Dowdle paced GCU offensively in game one by going 2-for-3 with two RBIs and one run scored.
Grand Canyon opened game two by scoring three unearned runs in the top of the first thanks to three defensive Wolverine miscues. After getting runners on second and third in the top of the first with just one out, Bianca Boling reached on a UVU fielding error, which sent Niki Gonzalez to second and Shea Smith to home. Bohling and Gonzalez later came in to score on a Utah Valley throwing error to give the Antelopes an early 3-0 lead.
Utah Valley responded with a run of its own in the bottom half of the first inning. Moeller started the rally by singling through the right side and later advanced to third on an Angulo double to put two runners in scoring position. Steversen then followed by driving in Moeller with an RBI groundout to make it a 3-1 game.
Both teams went scoreless through the next six innings until GCU's Gonzalez drove out a two-out solo shot over the left field fence to extend Grand Canyon's lead to 4-1. The preseason WAC favorite Lopes sealed the victory by holding Utah Valley scoreless in the bottom half of the seventh to record the 4-1 victory and even the series at 1-1.
Makayla Shadle pitched well for the Wolverines in the nightcap but was tagged with the loss after allowing one earned run (four total) in the full 7.0 innings of action. The UVU senior gave up just six hits in the ballgame while striking out three and walking two to drop to 2-7 on the year. Brianna Aguilar-Beaucage earned the win for the Lopes after giving up just one run on seven hits while striking out two in 7.0 innings of work to improve to 9-12 on the season.
Moeller and Angulo paced the Wolverines at the plate in game two by each going 2-for-3. Gonzalez led GCU with a 2-for-4 outing, which included a homer, a double and two runs scored.
On deck for UVU
The Wolverines look to take the series over the Lopes on Saturday. The final game of the weekend set is scheduled for a 1 p.m. start at Wolverine Softball Field. With more rain in the forecast for Saturday, please check GoUVU.com and @GoUVU on Twitter for any weather-related updates. UVU will then close its current six-game homestand by welcoming neighboring foe BYU to town on Tuesday, April 10, for a 3 p.m. contest.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit GoUVU.com.