March 30, 2014
FRESNO, Calif. - Despite strong team performances, the Utah State softball dropped a heartbreaker to Fresno State, 4-3, Sunday at Bulldog Diamond in the finale of the three-game series.
The walk-off single by the Bulldogs capped off the three-game sweep, as Utah State falls to 13-17 overall and 3-3 in Mountain West action. Fresno State improves to 19-12 overall and 4-2 in league play.
"We got punched pretty good the last two games. Today was pretty important to see how they responded," USU head coach Steve Johnson said. "They came back with a lot of fight. They played much better than they had the last two days. When you get in a position to win in the seventh inning in a conference game, that is all that you can ask. That is all a part of the continuing process. I was really proud of the fight today, and that is what we have to take into every game."
Peterson took the loss despite allowing only three earned runs in 6.1 innings. Jill Compton earned her second win of the series for Fresno State, improving to 12-6.
The Aggies finally broke through against the Bulldogs with one run in the top of the first inning. With two outs, freshman third baseman Victoria Saucedo pushed a single past the shortstop. Saucedo scored from first when junior outfielder Hailey Froton drilled a double to right center to give USU the 1-0 lead.
In the bottom of the second inning, the Bulldogs threatened when Kelley Megee single to left center with one out. Paige Gumz doubled to center on a ball that got to the wall but was picked up by leftfielder Nicole Arata and relayed to Jolene Koons at short to catcher Sydney Hart to catch Megee at home and keep Fresno State off the scoreboard.
USU added one run in the top of the third inning as the Aggie bats began to warm up. Senior second baseman Allison Lenzora started the inning with an infield single. Koons followed with another infield single to put runners on first and second. Both runners advanced a base on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore rightfielder Kirstyn Namba. Saucedo delivered her second hit of the game with a firecracker to right to score Lenzora, increasing the Aggie lead to 2-0.
Fresno State got one run back in the bottom of the fourth inning. Stesha Brazil started the inning with a singe to right, moving to second on a sacrifice bunt. Whitney Smith walked, and Megee followed with a hard hit double to right that scored Brazil. On a fielder's choice from Lenzora to Hart, the Aggies threw out there second runner of the game out at home plate, preventing another runner from crossing the plate.
The Bulldogs tied the score 2-2 in the bottom of the fifth inning with an unearned run.
Utah State briefly re-took the lead in the top of the seventh with Lenzora scoring her second run of the game. With one out in the inning, Lenzora reached on a walk. She came around to score the Aggies' third run of the game on Koons' second triple of the season.
Fresno State rebounded with two runs in the bottom of the inning for the walk off win. The game-winning hit came off the bat of Whitney Smith who lined a single to right field to drive home Brazil.
For the game, both Koons and Saucedo were 2-for-4 with one RBI. Saucedo also had one runs scored on the day.
Utah State has another busy week with five games, four of which will be held at home at Laree and LeGrand Johnson Softball Field. The Aggies open the week at home against Utah Valley on Tuesday, April 1 at 4 p.m. USU then takes on in-state rival BYU on Wednesday, April 2 in Provo, Utah at 4 p.m. The Aggies end the week with a three-game Mountain West series with San Jose State beginning on April 4-6.
Aggie fans all the games in the series live through the Mountain West Network at http://www.utahstateaggies.com/videos/.
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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