Fleming Explodes As Softball Splits Doubleheader With UC Santa Barbara Saturday
April 9, 2005
LOGAN, Utah - Sara Fleming went a combined five-for-seven with three doubles and a home run as Utah State softball split a doubleheader with UC Santa Barbara Saturday afternoon. The Aggies won the first game 9-2, then dropped the second game 9-4 to put their overall record at 10-22 and their Big West Conference record at 2-9. Meanwhile, the Gauchos went to 18-14 and 4-4 with the split.
The first game opened as a pitchers duel with neither pitcher allowing a hit through the first three innings. After retiring the first 10 batters she faced, Utah State's Leslie Higley gave up a double to Jessica Hejna to start the rally for the Gauchos.
Kendra Singley then singled Hejna home to break the scoreless tie and took second on the throw to the plate. UCSB took the 2-0 lead as Danielle Meyers plated Hejna with a shot up the middle. Higley got out of the inning, stranding two Gauchos, as Karyna Wilkerson grounded out to second base.
Not to be out done in the bottom of the fourth, Fleming opening a nine run barrage by USU with a double to left center. Utah State eventually would load the bases with Jessica Garnett at the plate. Garnett slapped a grounder to the second baseman, who threw home to get the force at the plate. Santa Barbara's catcher couldn't hold on to the ball, allowing Roxanne Ritchie to score and tying the game at two a piece.
The error would prove costly for the Gauchos as Utah State scored seven of its nine runs with two outs and batted through its line-up one and a half times. Fleming ended up with two doubles and an RBI in the inning, while Candice Hatch and Michell Vlahos each had a double with two RBI in the inning.
Neither team would score the remainder of the game as Higley pitched her eighth complete game of the year, giving up just two runs on four hits. Jennifer Davis snagged the loss, giving up eight runs, only one of which was earned, in three and two-thirds innings.
Things weren't quite as rosy for the Aggies in the second game as they got behind early as UCSB's Singley drove in Brittany Putich in the top of the first.
Utah State then threatened in the bottom of the inning as it loaded the bases with two outs and Shawn Bjarnson at the plate. Bjarnson would battle pitcher Lindsey Sommer to a full count before looking at strike three.
The Aggies would eventually tie the score at one in the third as Fleming once again got things going with a double to open the inning. Fleming advanced to third on a ground out by Ritche and scored as Kelly Leos reached first on an error by the second baseman. One run would be all the Aggies would get as they once again left two base runners stranded looking at strike three.
Things looked up for the Aggies in their half of the fourth inning as they took a 3-1 lead off a two-run home run from Fleming, her team-leading fifth homer of the season.
The Aggies didn't hold the lead for long, however, as the Gauchos scored one in the fifth, five in the sixth and two in the seventh to put things out of reach.
USU stranded four more base runners in the sixth and seventh innings as UCSB's Sommers picked up her sixth win of the season with the complete game six hitter.
Jessica Garnett (3-7) was credited with the loss as she pitched five and one-third innings, giving up four runs on four hits.
USU and UCSB will meet for the grudge match at noon on Sunday. A win Sunday would help the Aggies match their win total from a year ago.