March 16, 2013
BOISE, Idaho - Utah State softball rallied from five-down in the seventh inning to top Portland State, 6-5 in eight innings on Saturday. It was the second time in as many days that USU went into extra innings, coming out on top both times.
The Aggies also defeated Idaho State, 3-2, to start Saturday's action. Utah State has now won five-straight games, the longest winning streak of the season for USU.
In the second game of Saturday's action, pitching and defense took over early in the game as neither team could gain any offensive momentum through the first four innings of play.
Portland State broke through first in the top of the fifth inning, as the Vikings loaded the bases and capitalized by scoring two runs. PSU added two more runs in the top of the sixth inning to extend its advantage to 4-0. PSU plated yet another run in the top of the seventh to take a 5-0 lead.
Utah State looked to rally late in the action behind junior infielder Becca Walker, who hammered a lead-off solo homerun, giving the Aggies their first run of the game, 5-1. Senior infielder Christine Thomsen extended the rally with a bases-loaded double to left center that drove in two more runs to pull USU within two, 5-3.
Utah State raised the level of drama once again as sophomore infielder Nicole Arata came up with a single to right field to score another run. Once again Walker delivered for Utah State, driving a single into centerfield, allowing the game-tying run, 5-5, to score from third and forcing extra innings.
USU refused to allow Portland State to fire up its offense in the top of the eight and took full advantage in the bottom of the frame.
In the bottom of the eighth, junior infielder Allison Lenzora was placed on second and quickly advanced to third on an sacrifice bunt from sophomore outfielder Amburlyn Orozco. Lenzora came in to score as Thomsen drove a hard hit ball to the shortstop who could not handle it, allowing Lenzora to safely cross the plate and score the game winning run, 6-5.
Senior pitcher Shelbi Tyteca earned her second win in as many days, improving to 2-1 on the year. With the come from behind win, the Aggies are now 5-20 and have won five-consecutive heading into Sunday's action.
In the opening game of the day, USU took on Idaho State in the first of three scheduled meetings between the two teams.
ISU wasted no time to put a run on the board in the bottom of the first inning, as Hailey Breakwell drove a double down the right field line that plated a runner from second.
Following two scoreless innings, the Aggie offense responded in the top of the fourth with two runs of their own. Arata provided the offense once again she drove a ball deep over the leftfield fence, scoring senior utility player Katie Bowdidge who entered the game to pinch run for Thomsen.
Thomsen singled to left center field to lead-off the inning and it was Arata's second home run this season as well as the second of her career. Behind the power in the middle of its order, Utah State took a, 2-1, advantage into the final frames of the game.
USU added to its lead in the top of the fifth inning as Lenzora drove a lead-off double into right field and advanced to third on a ground out from Orozco. Sophomore outfielder Jolene Koons brought Lenzora in to score with a fly ball to left field, pushing the Aggie lead to 3-1.
The Bengals continued to put pressure on Utah State as they were able to score another run in the bottom of the sixth inning to pull within one of USU, 3-2.
The Aggies were unable to put together any threat in the top of the seventh frame, turning to Tyteca to hold the one-run lead and close out Idaho State for its fourth-consecutive win. Tyteca delivered, retiring the ISU side to end the game.
Freshman starting pitcher Noelle Johnson worked five and two-third innings, striking out and impressive seven batters and allowed only two runs. Johnson earned her second win of the season, improving to 2-6 overall. Tyteca also earned her first save of the season.
USU will conclude action in the SpringHill Suite Invitational in Boise, Idaho on Sunday, March 17. The Aggies will play the inverse of Saturday's schedule on Sunday,leading off with a game against Portland State and concluding with a finale re-match with Idaho State. Action is set to get underway at 10 a.m. (MT) for Utah State, the second game of the day versus Idaho State is slated for a 12 a.m. (MT) start.
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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