March 28, 2012
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah - A five-run third inning was the demise of the Utah State softball team as the Aggies fell to in-state rival Utah, 7-0, at Ute Softball Field in Salt Lake City on Wednesday.
With the loss, the Aggies fall to 9-20 overall, while the Utes improve to 22-8 this season.
Utah State threatened in the top of the first inning after sophomore infielder Kassandra Uchida doubled to left center. With two outs, junior infielder Christine Thomsen continued the threat with a walk to put runners on first and second with two outs. Utah starting pitcher Generra Nielson was able to strikeout freshman outfielder Hailey Froton to end the inning.
Utah broke it open in the bottom of the third. The bottom half of the Ute batting order started the rally. Shay Wallace starting the inning with a walk with Sandi Bowles coming into pinch run for her. Chalese Fankhauser gave Utah a 2-0 lead with a home run to left center. Utah used five hits in the inning to extend its lead to 5-0 after three innings.
In the top of the fifth inning, sophomore Christina Cummings began the inning with an infield single for the Aggies second hit of the game. Nielson was able to work her way out of the jam without an Aggie crossing the plate.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, starting pitcher Mandy Harmon was able to get the first two outs. Katelyn Elliott worked the count and earned a two-out walk. Kate Dickman then drilled a triple down the left field line to score Elliot and push the Utah lead to 6-0. The Utes added one more insurance run in the bottom of the sixth inning to take a 7-0 advantage.
USU threatened in the top of the seventh inning when junior pinch hitter Kali Cancelosi reached with a one-out walk. Freshman Amburlyn Orozco pinch ran for Cancelosi and moved to second on a wild pitch. Cummings came up with her second hit of the day as USU put runners on first and third. The Utes were able to get the final out of the game to hold on to the 7-0 shutout win.
Harmon pitched five innings allowing alll seven runs to take the loss, falling to 4-10 this season. Nielson went the distance to improve to 16-6 this year.
The Aggies now prepare for their Western Athletic Conference home opener. Utah State will host Nevada in a three-game series beginning March 30 with a doubleheader with the Wolf Pack beginning at 2 p.m. Utah State and Nevada will conclude the three-game set on Saturday, March 31 at 1 p.m. Last season, the Aggies had their first ever WAC sweep against the Wolf Pack.
Fans can follow USU softball and Utah State athletics at http://twitter.com/USUAthletics. Live stats will be available for the game at www.utahstateaggies.com on the home page.
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