April 12, 2013
SEATTLE, Wash. - Utah State softball's senior pitcher Mandy Harmon had a no-hitter through six-and-two-thirds innings, but Seattle broke through with a single to load the bases. Senior relief pitcher Shelbi Tyteca came on in relief and Seattle's Isabella Geronimo laced two-run bases-loaded single down the left field line for a 2-1 walk-off victory in the second game of a doubleheader Friday afternoon at a cold and rainy Logan Field. USU was also nipped in the opener, 3-1.
The Aggies are now 8-32 overall and 2-9 in Western Athletic Conference play while the Redhawks move to 16-23 overall and 5-6 in WAC action. The two teams return to the diamond Saturday afternoon, scheduled for a 2 p.m. (MT) start to complete the three-game league series, but game time may change due to weather.
Harmon got some nice defensive assistance to keep her no-hitter in check, including two big plays in the fourth, starting with a rare fielder's choice to right. SU's Brianna Guerrero had a blooper to right field, where sophomore rightfielder Hailey Froton scooped up the ball and fired to third to gun down the Seattle baserunner for the out, wiping out a hit by Guerrero, keeping a zero in SU's hit column. The next Redhawk batter blasted a long foul ball that sophomore leftfielder Jolene Koons ran down and caught near the fence for the third out.
Sophomore third baseman Nicole Arata also showed flashy glove work, snaring a hot shot grounder and throwing out Guerrero, who led off the inning, for the first out in the bottom of the seventh. The next two SU batters walked before a pop up to second for the second out of the inning. With two outs and two on, SU's Allegra Wilde rapped a firecracker to third that was too hot for Arata to field for the hit, breaking up Harmon's no-no and setting up Geronimo's game-winning dramatics.
The scoreboard was stuck at 1-0 in USU's favor since the first inning, as the Aggies scored in the visitor's half of the first. Koons led off with a single and moved to second on a sac bunt by junior second baseman Allison Lenzora, then advanced to third on a wild pitch. Senior first baseman Christine Thomsen then laced an RBI single to left to plate Koons and put the Aggies ahead 1-0, a lead they clung to until the seventh.
Harmon was dealt the loss, falling to 2-19 on the year, firing one strikeout while walking four.
In the opener, SU plated a run in each of the first and second innings. The Redhawks strung together two hits and a sac bunt in the first, then a walk, stolen base and a hit in the second to open a 2-0 lead after two innings.
USU got on the board in the fourth inning, as Koons led off to a single to her position. After a sacrifice bunt by junior centerfielder Rachael Hunsaker moved Koons to second, she advanced to third on a single by Thomsen. Koons scored on a double-steal attempt when Thomsen was thrown out at second, but Koons darted in safely from third ahead of the throw back to the plate for the Aggies' lone run, pulling them within 2-1.
Utah State loaded the bases in both the fifth and sixth innings, piecing together singles and sac bunts with walks and errors, but the threats were thwarted, leaving USU off the board.
Seattle added a run in the sixth with a lead off double, followed by a single, chasing freshman pitcher Noelle Johnson from the circle. Tyteca came on in relief to end the inning. USU went three-up, three-down in the top of the seventh to end the game.
Johnson took the loss, falling to 3-11 on the year after spraying seven hits while striking out four. Mandi Sugita went the distance for the Redhawks, giving up seven hits while tallying one strikeout, improving to 5-9 with the win.
Junior designated player Kassandra Uchida was 2-for-3 to lead USU at the plate. The Aggie defense got some fancy glovework with a diving catch on a sinking liner to right by Froton and another diving catch in foul territory by Thomsen.
LiveStats for Saturday's final game of the series will be available to fans at www.utahstateaggies.com by clicking on the "LiveStats" link.
Fans can 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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