Lyndsay Steverson homered twice and drove in a total of five runs on the day en route to helping Utah Valley split a non-conference doubleheader at Nevada on Saturday afternoon.
Behind a two-run homer and an RBI single from Steverson in game one, the Wolverines (20-26) took the opener by a score of 4-2. Steverson then blasted out another two-run round-tripper in the first inning of game two, but the lead didn't hold up as the Wolf Pack (21-24) went on to score five late runs to record a 5-2 come-from-behind victory in the nightcap.
"We are coming together as a team at just the right time," sophomore second baseman Steverson said. "With solid defense and timely hitting, we can compete with anyone."
The Wolverines were the first to get on the board in the opener by pushing home a run with two out in the top of the first to take a 1-0 advantage. With Brianna Moeller on second base after singling and advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt from Skylar Cook, Steverson delivered a two-out RBI single to left to give the Wolverines the early lead.
Nevada then answered with a run of its own in the last of the second to tie the game at 1-1, but UVU then responded with a two-run homer off the bat of Steverson in the top of the third to take a 3-1 lead. Steverson's two-run shot to left came with one away and drove in Peyton Angulo who had previously reached base on a walk. Steverson's round-tripper also tied her for the team lead on the season with seven big flies with Madison Sisco.
The Wolf Pack then countered with a run in the bottom of the third via a sacrifice fly from Jessica Sellers to make it a 3-2 game.
With UVU holding a narrow 3-2 lead in the seventh, the Wolverines drove in an insurance run to take a 4-2 advantage. Moeller started the seventh-inning rally with a leadoff double, and following a sacrifice bunt from Cook, she later scored on an RBI groundout from Angulo to give Utah Valley the two-run lead.
Nevada then threatened in the last of the seventh after getting back-to-back leadoff hits from Sierra Mello and Erika Hansen to put the tying runners on, but Makayla Shadle came on and retired the next three batters in order to escape the jam unscathed and record her third save of the season.
Addie Jensen pitched 6.0 strong innings for the Wolverines to earn her 10th victory of the season. She allowed just two runs on seven hits while striking out three to improve to 10-9 on the year. Shadle then came on and did a nice job of pitching around two hits in the seventh to earn her third save of the season. Amanda Geil dropped to 5-3 on the year after giving up four runs in seven innings of action.
Steverson and Moeller led UVU at the plate by each going 2-for-4 in the game. Steverson added a home run, three RBIs and a run scored, while Moeller recorded a double and two runs scored.
Utah Valley again jumped out to an early lead in the game two thanks to a two-run first-inning homer from Steverson to give the Wolverines a quick 2-0 lead. Steverson's second home run of the day drove in Angulo, who had previously worked a two-out walk in the frame, and marked her team-leading eighth round-tripper of the year.
With the Wolverines holding a 2-0 lead in the third, the Wolf Pack offense finally responded with three runs in the frame to take their first lead of the day at 3-2. The UVU defense committed a pair of errors in the inning to help aid Nevada, and Aaliyah Gibson, Hansen and Jyllian Ahart all drove in runs for the Wolf Pack in the inning.
Nevada then tacked on a run in the fifth and another in the sixth to seal the victory. Gibson drove home her second run of the game with a sacrifice fly in the fifth, and Lauren Gutierrez drove in a run by reaching on an error in the sixth.
Utah Valley got a pair of hits from Basia Query and Madison Sisco in the seventh, but it couldn't manage to push across a late run as Nevada's Julia Jensen retired the next two batters she faced to seal the victory.
Jensen went the distance for the Pack to improve to 11-4 on the season, while Shadle (6-9) took the loss for the Wolverines after allowing two earned runs (three total) in 3.0 innings of work.
Steverson again led the Wolverines offensively in the game by going 2-for-3 with her second home run of the day, two runs batted in and a run scored. Hansen paced Nevada with a 2-for-3 outing with two doubles, a run scored and a run batted in.
"Coming out and getting that first win today was great for us. It has been so fun watching everybody become close and truly play united as a team," junior outfielder Cook said. "We are definitely looking to come out on top on Sunday so we can take the series and use that momentum in the WAC Tournament next week. This team has so much fight and I can't wait to see what we do with it together."
The Wolverines close their final series of the 2018 regular season on Sunday with a single game beginning at 1 p.m. MT, at Hixson Softball Park. Following the finale, UVU will head to Las Cruces, New Mexico, for the WAC Tournament. After earning the No. 2 seed for the tournament with their best WAC record in program history at 10-4, the Wolverines will open the postseason on Thursday, May 10, at 1 p.m., against either No. 3 Seattle U or No. 6 UMKC.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit GoUVU.com.