March 3, 2014
SALT LAKE CITY - Utah State softball earned it first win against in-state rival Utah since 2008 en route to a split in the round robin with Utah and Ole Miss at Utah Softball Stadium on Monday. The Aggies' fell in the first game to the Rebels 5-0 and rebounded for the 8-5 win over the Utes in the night cap. Utah defeated Ole Miss 6-2 earlier in the day.
Utah State, who had almost three weeks off, is now 5-3 overall in its first action since Feb. 9.
"I was really proud of the way we bounced back against a good Utah team. Our overall approach was much better. We came out and scored first and totally changed the tone of our team from the first game. This was another great team win with several players coming into the game in different roles and performing well," USU head coach Steve Johnson.
Against the Utes, Utah State jumped out to an early 4-0 lead with two runs in the top of the first and two more in the top of the second inning. In the first, junior catcher Jolene Koons reached on an error and scored the first run of the game after a double to left by freshman shortstop Victoria Saucedo, who scored on a triple by freshman first baseman Paxton Provost. In the second inning, junior third baseman Nicole Arata put USU up 4-0 with a home run.
The Utes responded with one run in the bottom of the second and three more in the bottom of the third inning.
The Aggies took the lead for good with two more runs in the top of the sixth inning. Freshman designated player Sydney Hart delivered big for the Aggies. Hart doubled to left center, scoring both sophomore outfielder Kirstyn Namba and junior outfielder Amburlyn Orozco to give USU the 6-4 lead. Utah State plated two more unearned runs in the top of the seventh to take a 8-4 lead.
The Utes got one run in the bottom of the seventh to cut the lead to 8-5. Sophomore Noelle Johnson came in to relieve freshman starter Abby Indreland to earn the win, improving to 4-2. Johnson struck out the final two batters to seal the win. The win was the first since March 26, 2008 when USU captured the 3-1 win.
In the first game, the Aggies and the Rebels finally met after having their game in San Diego last weekend canceled due to inclement weather. Ole Miss improved to 2-0 all-time against Utah State. "You've got to give credit to (Carly) Hummel, but I was disappointed in our overall approach. We were undisciplined at the plate and gave up too many big hits. We did not compete at the level we have to be at to be successful this season," Johnson said.
It was all Ole Miss with the Rebels scoring three runs in the first three innings to take the 3-0 lead. In the circle, it was all Carly Hummel as she struck out 11 en route to the program's first perfect game.
Ole Miss got on the board in the top of second with a deep, solo home run to left-center field by senior first baseman Londen Ladner. That would be all the offense that the Rebels would need but they added two runs in the top of the third to take a 3-0 lead.
The Rebels added single runs in the top of the fifth and top of the seventh to seal the 5-0 win.
Johnson took the loss, allowing four runs on seven hits in five innings and is now 4-2 after the day's play.
The Aggies return to the Golden State for another attempt to complete a game in California this weekend when Utah State heads to Riverside, Calif., Friday-Sunday, March 7-9 for the Highlander Classic hosted by UC Riverside. The Aggies open the tournament with a familiar opponent, taking on border-foe Idaho State on Friday, March 7 at 12:30 p.m. (MT). The Aggies conclude Friday's action against host UC Riverside on 3 p.m. (MT).
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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