April 5, 2014
LOGAN, Utah - Utah State softball fell behind early and couldn't recover, as San José State won, 12-4, in five innings, Saturday afternoon at a chilly LaRee and LeGrand Johnson Softball Field.
Prior to the game, USU honored its 30th anniversary of the 1984 NCAA Women's College World Series by having senior third baseman from that team, Allison Dennison throw out the game's first pitch.
SJSU clinched the Mountain West series after winning Friday's game, 8-0, in six innings. The Aggies slide to 14-20 overall and 3-5 in MW action heading into Sunday's series finale. SJSU moves to 21-14 overall and 4-1 in MW play with the win.
"Right now for us it's not physical, its a lot of stuff between our ears. We've got to believe in ourselves. As coaches, we can believe in them and tell them we believe in them, and we're not giving up the fight, but they've got to believe in themselves," USU head coach Steve Johnson said. "I think right now too many of them are taking one bad swing or letting one bad play effect the rest of the at bat or game for them, and we can't do that. It's a game of failure, and we've got to be able to bounce back from something like that and keep fighting."
Like Friday's game, the Spartans got on the board in the top of the first, as leadoff hitter Devin Caldwell started the rally with a single to right. SJSU proceeded to load the bases and went on to score five in the top of the frame, chasing Aggie freshman starting pitcher Abby Indreland. Redshirt sophomore Mariah Peterson came on in relief to end the rally, getting a strikeout and a groundout.
USU tried to counter in the home half of the first, as sophomore leftfielder Sarah Chow fulfilled her leadoff spot with an infield single and moved to second on an error. Two batters later, freshman third baseman Victoria Saucedo laced a single to left and advanced to second on another SJSU error and moving Chow up to third. However, the Aggie rally fizzled to strand them.
The visitors plated three more runs in the top of the second on a three-run home run by Sharon-Renae Estrada, before the Aggies rallied with four runs of their own. Senior designated player Samantha Larsen led off reaching on an error and moving up to second, and sophomore catcher Kirstyn Namba reached on a hit-by-pitch. Larsen and Namba both moved up a base on a wild pitch. Two batters later, senior second baseman Allison Lenzora smacked a single to left to plate Larsen for the Aggies' first run. Chow then followed with a walk to load the bases full of Aggies.
Junior shortstop Jolene Koons then laced a scorcher down the left field line just inside third base to plate Lenzora and Namba, chasing Spartans' starting pitcher Katelyn Linford. Saucedo greeted reliever Madison Fish with a long fly ball to right for a sacrifice fly to drive in Chow with USU's fourth and final run of the inning and pulling the home team within 8-4.
The four-run gap was short-lived, as SJSU tacked on two more runs in the top of the third for a 10-4 lead, with Jessie Hufstetler providing the action with a two-run double to left center. The Spartans went ahead, 12-4, with two more runs in the visitors' sixth, as Jessica Garcia dealt the big blow with a long two-run home run to left field for the final scoring.
USU tried to mount a rally in the bottom of the fifth with Saucedo reaching on an error with only one out, but the Aggies couldn't keep it going to end the game due to the run rule.
The teams return to the diamond to complete the series on Sunday, April 6 at 1 p.m.
Aggie fans can follow 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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