April 18, 2014
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - Behind sophomore Noelle Johnson's stellar pitching performance, the Utah State softball team shut out San Diego State, 1-0, Friday at the San Diego State Softball Stadium. Johnson took a no-hitter into the fifth inning and allowed only two hits in seven innings.
Utah State improves to 17-23 overall and 5-6 in the Mountain West. San Diego State falls to 30-12 overall and 7-4 in league action. The shutout was the fifth solo shutout of the season for Johnson who improves to 16-14 this season. The five conference wins matches the win total of all of last season when the Aggies were 5-16 in the Western Athletic Conference.
"Noelle hit her spots really well tonight, and she did a good job of keeping them off balance and not letting them get the big hit," USU head coach Steve Johnson said. "We played outstanding defense behind her and didn't allow them to extend the inning at all. We need to a better job of getting clutch hits with runners on base. We were on yesterday; they just got a few more clutch hits than we did. Tonight, we got the clutch hit."
Utah State took the 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning. Freshman third baseman Victoria Saucedo lined a doubled down the right field line for her second it of the game. Saucedo scored from second on a hard-hit single by junior outfielder Hailey Froton. The next three Aggies all hit hard-hit fly balls that were corralled by the Aztec outfielders to end the USU scoring threat.
Johnson was solid early on, retiring the first nine that she faced. In the fourth inning, Katie Mathis started the inning with walk and was eliminated from the base paths by senior catcher Samantha Larsen.
In the top of the fifth inning, junior Amburlyn Orozco and junior Allison Lenzora started the inning with back-to-back infield hits. From there, relief pitcher Erica Romero was able to get a pair of fielder's choices and a fly out to keep the Aggies from plating another run.
Jaylene Ignacio got the first hit of the game for SDSU in the bottom of the fifth inning.
The Aztecs did not go down without a fight. In the bottom of the seventh inning, Kayla Jordan started the inning with a single through the left side. Junior shortstop Jolene Koons came up with a huge double play on a hard-hit shot by Patrice Jackson. Sydnee Cable then grounded out to end the game.
Saucedo extended her current hitting streak to eight-straight games, going 2-for-3 and scoring the only run. Koons had her streak of reaching base safely halted at a season-high 18 games.
The series between the Aggies and the Aztecs concludes with a Saturday finale at 12 p.m. (MT).
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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