HENDERSON, Nev. -
Utah State softball opened the weekend of competition at the UNLV-hosted Marucci Desert Classic, Friday, falling to Seattle (9-5) and FIU (12-4).
Senior outfielder Jazmin Clarke led the Aggie offense Saturday, as she batted .571 (4-for-7) between the two games. In the circle, senior Jordyn McCracken pitched the complete game against Seattle, while freshman Stephanie Reed made her first-career start and three all five innings against FIU.
Utah State was first to score against Seattle. In the top of the second, senior third baseman Amee Aarhus was the first Aggie to reach base, hitting a triple to left center. A single from freshman designated player Joely Williamson brought her home. USU built up its lead in the next inning, as sophomore outfielder Riley Plogger hit her first home run of the day, also bringing Clarke across the plate.
Seattle quickly caught up to the Aggies and took the lead in the bottom of the third. Three-straight singles brought the first run across. After one out, a three-run home run followed, with one more unearned run scoring off a single up the middle.
Errors proved detrimental to the Aggies through the game, as Seattle capitalized on the seven errors Utah State made. The Redhawks added another four runs before Utah State could score again. Senior catcher Brina Buttacavoli hit a two-run home run in the top of the six, but the comeback ended there, as Seattle got the win.
In all, Utah State had five hits to Seattle's 11, while the Redhawks had just one error in the game.
After a quick turnaround, the Aggies were back at it against FIU. Utah State was again first to score, as sophomore second baseman Devan Sperry hit a double down the right field line to score Clarke from second. The Golden Panthers went on to score seven unanswered runs, beginning with a sac fly and a double in the bottom of the first.
With six hits in the bottom of the second, FIU added five runs, working its way through the batting order. Utah State cut into the Golden Panther scoring in the top of the third, as freshman outfielder Leah Molina led off with a single through the left side. Plogger then hit her second home run of the day, blasting it over the left field fence and bringing Molina across the plate.
FIU continue to surge ahead in the bottom of the third with back-to-back doubles and a two-run homer. The inning ended with USU's first double play of the season. The Golden Panthers then hit another home run in the bottom of the fourth. The Aggies put together four hits in the top of the fifth, but were only able to bring one run in after capitalizing on an FIU error. With a wild pitch, the Golden Panthers brought one last run in, ending the game with an eight-run advantage.
FIU out-hit the Aggies, 15-9, but had the only error of the game.
The Aggies will conclude Marucci Desert Classic play on Saturday, Feb. 17. Utah State will take on Buffalo at 12:15 p.m. (MT), followed by Hawai'i at 2:30 p.m. Utah State was set to play Bradley on Sunday, Feb. 18, but the Braves were unable to travel to the tournament.
Fans can follow the Aggie softball program on Twitter, @USUSoftball, on Facebook at /USUSoftball or on Instagram, @ususoftball. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program on Twitter, @USUAthletics, Facebook at /USUAthletics and on Instagram, @USUAthletics.
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