Kaylee Bott drove home Linnah Rebolledo with a walk-off RBI single in the last of the seventh inning to lead Utah Valley to a 7-6 come-from-behind victory to take the series over the first-place Aggies on Senior Day.
After dropping the first game of the twin bill on Saturday, 5-3, and trailing the nightcap by a score of 6-0, the Wolverines (16-23, 7-4 WAC) rallied to score seven unanswered runs on their way to earning the comeback victory and the WAC series over New Mexico State (24-20, 9-3 WAC). After taking two out of three from NM State, UVU has now won six of its last seven ballgames and moves into third place in the WAC standings.
Caragh Morris led the way for the Wolverines in game two by going a perfect 2-for-2 with two home runs and four RBIs off the bench, while Bott went a perfect 3-for-3 with two runs scored, as well as the game-winning hit in the last of the seventh. Brianna Moeller posted a 3-for-4 outing with a double, and senior Makayla Shadle earned the win in the circle after pitching four innings of shutout relief.
"I am so proud of these kids. It was truly a great way to finish out our senior weekend," head UVU coach TJ Hubbard said. "They are working hard together and for each other—they fight for one another like no other group I've seen before. They have worked relentlessly all year and greatness is in front of them."
UVU starter Addie Jensen didn't allow a hit until the third inning when the Aggies scored four runs on four hits to take a 4-0 lead. The UVU defense committed an error in the frame as well, as three of the four runs that came in were unearned. Fahren Glackin and Nikki Butler delivered the big hits in the inning for New Mexico State, as each drove in two runs with a pair of two-run singles.
The Wolverines threatened in the last of the third with singles from Moeller and Taleigh Williams, but NMSU reliever Samaria Diaz managed to pitch out of the jam to keep it a 4-0 Aggie advantage.
New Mexico State tacked on two more runs in the top of the fourth to make it 6-0. Caity Szczesny started the rally with an inside-the-park home run to center, and Sarai Mejia later followed with an RBI single to give NM State a 6-0 advantage.
With two outs in the bottom of the fourth, Bott reached with a two-out single and Morris followed with a pinch-hit two-run home run to left to put the Wolverines on the board and make it a 6-2 ballgame.
UVU got two more runs in the last of the fifth to make it a two-run game at 6-4. Following a two-out double from Peyton Angulo, Lyndsay Steverson drove her home with an RBI single to right to make it 6-3. With pinch-runner Karly Bunderson standing on second following an NMSU throwing error, she then came around to score on an infield single from Basia Query to make it a 6-4 game.
Still 6-4 in the sixth, the reigning WAC Player of the Year Morris managed to go yard for the second time of the game to tie the rubber match and the series finale at 6-all. Bott started the sixth-inning rally for the Wolverines with a single up the middle, and Morris promptly followed with her second two-run shot of the ballgame to left to tie the game.
With one out and the bases empty in the last of the seventh, Sisco almost muscled one out of the park, but it bounced off the top of the left field wall to start something brewing for the Wolverines with a double. With pinch-runner Rebelledo leading from second and one away, Bott singled sharply to right and Rebelledo managed to beat the throw to the plate to record the walk-off win for the Wolverines.
The senior Shadle pitched brilliantly in relief for Utah Valley in the contest to improve to 5-7 on the year and 3-2 in conference play. Shadle didn't allow a run and gave up just two hits in four innings of action while striking out five and not walking a batter. NMSU's Mikayla Bongi (0-1) was tagged with the loss after allowing one run on four hits in an inning and third.
Earlier in the day, the Aggies threatened by loading the bases with just one away in the top of the first inning. But UVU senior starter Lauren Frailey Spendlove managed to escape the jam by drawing an L-4-3 double play to keep NMSU off the scoreboard.
In the bottom of the second, the Wolverines were the first to get on the scoreboard thanks to a two-run homer from Sisco. After a leadoff double from Query, Sisco followed with a two-run shot down the left field line to give the Wolverines the early 2-0 lead. The round-tripper marked Sisco's team-high sixth of the season.
The Aggie offense struck back with a run of their own in the third thanks to a solo homer from Glackin to make it a 2-1 contest.
Both starting pitchers then settled down, as the game remained 2-1 until the fifth. In the top of the fifth, New Mexico State drove home four runs to take its first lead of the game at 5-2. Glackin and Victoria Castro drove in a run apiece to give NM State a 3-2 lead, and Butler followed with a two-run round-tripper to center to make it 5-2.
Utah Valley got a one-out pinch-hit double from Williams in the last of the sixth inning, but NMSU's Analise De La Roca managed to pitch around the extra-base hit to maintain its three-run lead.
In the bottom of the seventh, UVU pieced together a rally to make things interesting. After back-to-back one-out singles from Bott and Morris, Kirsten Andersen reached on an error and Bott came around from second to score to make it a 5-3 contest. With Morris and Andersen, who represented the tying runners, both in scoring position following the Aggie miscue, NM State's Kayla Green then retired both Moeller and pinch-hitter Kawehi Kahana via pop-outs to record the save and a victory for the Aggies.
Despite pitching four-plus strong innings of action, Frailey Spendlove (2-4) was tagged with the loss after allowing five runs on seven hits. Fellow UVU senior Shadle came on and pitched in relief for the Wolverines, by giving up just one hit and no runs while striking out two in 2.1 innings of work. NMSU's De La Roca (8-3) was credited with the win, while Green earned her first save of the season.
Sisco led the Wolverines offensively in game one by going 2-for-3 with a two-run homer and a run scored. Williams and Morris were next by each going a perfect 1-for-1 off the bench, while Query and Bott each went 1-for-3. Glackin paced the Aggies by going 2-for-4 with two runs batted in, two runs scored and a home run.
Prior to Saturday's twin bill, the Wolverines outlasted NM State in the series opener on Friday by a score of 9-7.
Eight Wolverine seniors were honored following the doubleheader, as Andersen, Bunderson, Sydney Cluff, Frailey Spendlove, Kahana, Shadle, Kristy Snyder and Williams were recognized for their standout careers at UVU.
"I'm so thankful for this group of seniors. They are truly leaders on and off the field. They are all selfless individuals that are committed to the process and to their program," added Hubbard. "These eight student-athletes have pursued excellence in the classroom and on the field. Without their contributions, we would not be where we are today. We are grateful for their dedication and commitment to promoting this program to another level."
The twin ball marked Utah Valley's final home contests of the 2018 campaign.
The Wolverines next head to Ogden for a non-conference matchup at Weber State on Tuesday, April 24, at 4 p.m. Following the in-state ballgame, UVU heads on the road for its final WAC series of the season at CSU Bakersfield next weekend. The three-game series will open with a doubleheader on Friday, April 28, at 3 p.m., in Bakersfield, California.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit GoUVU.com.