Opportunistic Bengals Sneak Past Aggies, 3-2, Wednesday
April 24, 2013
LOGAN, Utah - Utah State softball (10-38, 4-11 WAC) came up just short against border foe Idaho State on Wednesday at LaRee and LeGrand Johnson Field, as the Bengals corralled USU, 3-2. Idaho State only managed three-hits in the game, but capitalized on Aggie miscues to defeat the home team. Utah State and ISU split the season series, 2-2.
Idaho State broke out early, as they were able to load the bases against senior starting pitcher Mandy Harmon. ISU was only able to score a single-run in the inning, as an errant throw home from center field missed its mark, allowing an ISU runner to score from third.
USU looked to respond with a big inning in the bottom of the second frame, as it was able to load the bases with one-out and threatening to break the game open. Action in the inning started with a one-out single up the middle of the infield by junior utility player Kassandra Uchida. Harmon looked to help her cause in the circle as the senior drove a ball into center field to put runners on first and second. Junior outfielder Rachael Hunsaker took a pitch to her mid-section, loading the bases for the home team. The Aggies could not convert the scoring opportunity however, as they committed the final two-outs of the inning.
Pitching and defense took hold in the third and fourth frames, as neither team could gain any offensive traction against the other.
Utah State broke through in the bottom of the fifth inning as pinch runner Amburlyn Orozco stole second base with two-outs to give her team a runner in scoring position. Sophomore outfielder Hailey Froton seized the scoring opportunity by driving a ball up the middle that allowed Orozco to race home for USU's first run of the game as well as tying Wednesday's bout at one apiece.
Idaho State once again found just enough offense to make the home team pay, scoring a solo-run in the top of the sixth and again in the top of the seventh to take a 3-1 advantage into the final three outs of the game.
The Aggies refused to go quietly in the bottom of the seventh, as Froton led off the inning with her second single of the day. Sophomore infielder Nicole Arata worked the count full and was able to layoff the payoff pitch to earn a free-pass, putting runners on first and second with no outs to start a late-game rally for Utah State.
Following a fielders choice from Uchida that resulted in Arata being forced out at second but allowing Froton to advance to third, freshman pitcher Noelle Johnson connected on an infield single scoring Froton from third. With runners on second and first and trailing, 3-2, USU could not produce the game tying hit.
Harmon and Johnson combined to allow only three hits as well as combining to strikeout eight Bengal batters. Johnson was saddled with the loss, dropping her to 3-15 overall this season in the circle.
Three Utah State players tallied two-hits against Idaho State in junior infielder Allison Lenzora, as well as Froton and Uchida. Senior infielder Christine Thomsen saw her 14-game hitting streak come to an end on Wednesday, as the senior went 0-for-3 at the plate.
Up next, USU will travel to Texas for a weekend WAC series WAC with UT Arlington with conference championship tournament implications on the line. Series action is set to get underway with a solo-game on Friday night, April 26, at 4 p.m. (MT). A Saturday doubleheader is set to conclude this weekends series with Saturday's opening game getting started at 2 p.m. (MT).
Fans can keep up with all of the Aggies softball action at www.utahstateaggies.com. Follow Utah State athletics, including softball, at http://twitter.com/USUAthletics.com, as well as on facebook, athttps://www.facebook.com/USUAthletics.