March 10, 2012
LONG BEACH, Calif. - Utah State softball dropped a close one in its only game on Saturday in the Long Beach State Invitational against Michigan State, 3-2. MSU used a run in the bottom of the fifth inning to break the tie, and the run held up as the game-winner for the Spartans.
The loss drops USU to 8-11 on the season while MSU improved to 7-14.
Utah State took the early advantage in the top of the third frame as sophomore infielder Allison Lenzora crossed the plate from third base after sophomore outfielder Kassandra Uchida forced the action by knocking an infielder grounder, allowing Lenzora to advance home. The Aggies could not add to their lead in the inning but took a 1-0 advantage.
Uchida was credited with the RBI in the third frame, which was her third run batted in on the weekend, leading the team for the most RBI in the Long Beach State Invitational.
Michigan State responded in the bottom half of the third by scoring a run of its own, knotting the score at 1-1.
Utah State again created a scoring threat in the top of the fourth, as junior infielder Christine Thomsen drew a lead-off walk and was followed by a single to right field from senior infielder Lindsey Marquez. Freshman outfielder Hailey Froton executed a perfect sacrifice bunt to advance the runners to second and third.
Freshman outfielder Dekota Monarrez gave USU its second lead of the game with a single to right field that allowed Thomsen to cross home. The Aggies could not build on their 2-1 lead however, converting the next two outs to end the inning.
MSU responded by scoring a run of its own in the bottom half of the frame as Alyssa McBride lifted a fly ball to left just far enough to allow Kelsey Cleary to score, once again tying up the ball game. The Spartans took plated the go-ahead run to take a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fifth inning by adding another run on a wild pitch by Utah State.
Spartans' starting pitcher Cassee Layne dug in and hold the USU offense scoreless over the next inning-and-a-third. Layne handed the ball over to Carly Nielsen in the top of the sixth with one out to close out the game, and Nielsen did not yield a run to the Aggies to secure the one run advantage gained in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Utah State will conclude play in the Long Beach Invitational on Sunday with two games. USU will start the day off with a bout against Cal State Fullerton, with first pitch is set for 12:15 p.m. (MT). Following their game against the Titans, the Aggies will take on its third ranked opponent this season in No. 16 UCLA at 2:30 p.m.
Live stats will be available to fans through the Game Tracker link on the www.utahstateaggies.comhome page.
Fans can follow Utah State athletics, including softball, at http://twitter.com/USUAthletics.com, as well as on facebook, at https://www.facebook.com/USUAthletics.
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