Feb. 9, 2014
ST. GEORGE, Utah - Sophomore pitcher Noelle Johnson ended the first weekend of play on a high note, breaking the Utah State record for strikeouts with 16 in a 6-0 win against Omaha on the final day of the Red Desert Classic in St. George, Utah on Sunday.
The 16 strikeouts broke Tara Thompson's record of 13 K's at Hawaii-Hilo on Feb. 28, 1995.
With the win, Utah State improves to 4-2 this season and has won three-straight games. Omaha falls to 3-2 with the loss. The Aggies recorded back-to-back shutout for the first time since the 2007 season.
"Today was another great team effort. Noelle (Johnson) threw lights out, hitting her spots and doing a great job of keeping a good hitting team off balance. When she gets dialed in like she was today, she can be very good," USU head coach Steve Johnson said.
In the top of the third inning, Utah State struck first when junior outfielder Hailey Froton hit her second home run of the season.
The Aggies added to that run total in the top of the fifth inning. Senior second baseman Allison Lenzora got the action going with a shot that just went over the second baseman's head. Froton came and delivered her second home run of the game and third of the season to put USU up 3-0. Last season, Froton did not hit a home run in 46 games.
"Hailey (Froton) broke out of her early season slump with two big shots to pace the offense and the bottom of the order came up huge with all six RBI," said Johnson.
The record-breaking strikeout came in the bottom of the sixth inning. After striking out Amber Lutmer to tie the record, Johnson broke the record, striking out Sydney Hames swinging to end the inning.
USU plated three more insurance runs in the top of the seventh to secure the win. Freshman first baseman Paxton Provost, freshman designated player Devin Montgomery and Lenzora all singled to maintain the Aggie rally.
Froton ended the game 2-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored. Lenzora also had a solid game going 2-for-3 with one RBI and one run scored, as the bottom of the line came up big against the Mavericks
The Aggies will take to the practice field as they have two weeks off from competition. USU returns to tournament play on Friday, Feb. 28 at the San Diego Classic I hosted by both San Diego and San Diego State. USU begins play with San Diego and Grand Canyon at 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. (MT), respectively.
Fans can keep up with all of the Aggie softball action at www.utahstateaggies.com. Follow Utah State athletics, including softball, at http://twitter.com/USUSoftball, as well as on facebook, at https://www.facebook.com/USUSoftball.
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