CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas -
Utah State softball continued tournament play at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Saturday, falling to Texas Southern, 9-8, but topping the Islanders, 8-5.
Utah State was led at the plate by senior outfielder Jazmin Clarke, senior third baseman Amee Aarhus and senior catcher Brina Buttacavoli, who each went 4-for-7 on the day. Three pitchers saw time in the circle for the Aggies Saturday. Senior Jordyn McCracken made the start against Texas Southern, while freshman Delaney Hull pitched a portion of the seventh inning. Sophomore Kellie White threw the complete game against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. McCracken tied her career-high with five strikeouts against the Tigers, while White struck out a career-best 10 batters against the Islanders.
With the split, Utah State sits at 5-7 on the season.
The Aggies started early with the hits against the Tigers, but Texas Southern was first to score, putting up two runs in the bottom of the first. Utah State answered with a run in the top of the third. Clarke led off with a triple to right center, scoring when freshman outfielder Leah Molina was put out at first.
Utah State took the lead with authority in the top of the fifth. After one out to start the inning, Clarke reached based on a walk. Molina singled through the left side to move Clarke to second. Freshman second baseman Stephanie Reed added a single, with all runners advancing on a Tiger error and bringing two runs in. Buttacavoli then singled to center field to bring Reed home. Buttacavoli advanced to second on a wild pitch, scoring on a single from Aarhus. Sophomore catcher Allanah Alvarado was next to reach base after being hit by a pitch, with freshman Kayla Fielder entering to run for her. Freshman shortstop Emery Marshall took first on a Texas Southern error, with Aarhus scoring on the play. One last single from junior first baseman Bailee Trapp brought Fielder home, as the Aggies ended the top of the fifth with a 7-2 lead.
The Tigers put one run on its line in the bottom of the fifth, after a runner reached on a Utah State error. The Aggies were able to do the same thing in the top of the sixth, as Molina reached first on an error and worked her way around the bases to score.
Though the Aggies were up 8-3 by the middle of the seventh, the Tigers used the bottom of the inning for the comeback win. Opening the inning with a walk, a single and a double, Texas Southern added one run before Hull came in to pitch. A wild pitch brought another run in, followed by an RBI single and a walk. McCracken then returned to the circle, advancing runners on a wild pitch. With another walk and a bunt single, the Tigers were back within a run, then scoring the go-ahead run for the win on a double to center field.
In all, Utah State out-hit Texas Southern, 11-10. The Aggies had three errors in the game, while the Tigers had two.
Though Texas A&M-Corpus Christi was the technical host team, a coin flip designated it as the visiting and first batters. The Islanders put a run on the board in the top of the first, but the Aggies quickly answered in the bottom of the inning. Molina reached base on an error, scoring as Aarhus hit a double to left center.
The Islanders took the lead back in the top of the third on a single-shot home run, but Utah State tacked on three runs on its turn at the plate. Clarke led off with a single, stealing second and advancing to third on a groundout. Plogger drew a walk, while freshman shortstop Joely Williamson doubled to bring Clarke home. Plogger and Williamson were both able to score as Buttacavoli reached base on an Islander error.
After six batters were retired in order in the fourth and fifth innings, the Aggies built on their lead in the bottom of the sixth. Williamson hit her second double of the day to start the inning, with Fielder coming in as her pinch runner. Buttacavoli and junior designated player Bailey Lewis each added a single, with Fielder and Buttacavoli scoring on another TA&M-CC error. Clarke followed with a triple, but the throw gave her and Lewis time to run home. The Aggies added one more hit, but the inning ended on a strikeout.
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi looked for the comeback in the top of the seventh, plating three runs. White opened and closed the inning with strikeouts, ending the game.
Utah State had its fourth-straight double-digit hit game with 10 against TA&M-CC. The Islanders had eight hits, and had three errors to USU's one.
Utah State will wrap-up the weekend with a second game against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Sunday, Feb. 25, at 10 a.m. (MT).
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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