Noelle Johnson Nears Single-Season Strikeout Record as USU Softball Falls to UNLV, 6-1, Thursday
May 8, 2014
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Utah State softball was not able to overcome a tough start, falling to UNLV, 6-1, Thursday at Eller Media Stadium. The Aggies allowed five in the first inning and held the Rebels to only one run the remainder of the game.
USU is now 18-35 overall and 6-16 in Mountain West action this season, while UNLV improves to 24-28 overall and 13-9 in league play. The Aggies have now lost eight-straight games.
Sophomore starting pitcher Noelle Johnson went the distance, falling to 16-20 this season. She did strike out five to give her 216 strikeouts this season just one shy of the Utah State single-season record held by Mary Lou Ramm-Flippen, who had 217 strikeouts in 1980.
Five different Aggies had hits on the day led by senior second baseman Allison Lenzora who was 2-for-3 with a double.
"We had another rough start today, allowing five in the first. They were able to get timely hits in the first inning when we were not. We just haven't been able to string many hits together. We have to continue to get our lead offs on and put pressure on the defense. We will go out there tomorrow and continue to compete and that is all we can do right now," USU head coach Steve Johnson said.
Utah State had another rough first inning, allowing five runs in the bottom half of the inning. UNLV used four hits, including a double to left center by Jamie DePippo to take the early advantage.
In the top of the second inning, USU threatened but was not able to cut into the Rebel lead. With two outs, junior third baseman Nicole Arata walked, while junior Jolene Koons reached on fielder's choice. USU loaded the bases with a base hit up the middle by Lenzora. The Rebels' Amanda Oliveto was able to get out of the inning with no damage done.
UNLV added one more run in the bottom of the fifth inning Stefany Valentino opened the inning with a single to center and a stolen base. She moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly to open up the 6-0 lead.
Utah State got on the board in the top of the sixth inning with a two-out rally. Johnson started the rally with a single up the middle and scored from first on a double by senior catcher Samantha Larsen. The Aggies got their third-straight hit when junior third baseman Nicole Arata singled to center. UNLV got the final out of the inning to end the threat.
The Aggies and Rebels will square off on Saturday, May 9 at 7 p.m. (MT), before wrapping up the series and the season on Saturday, May 10 at 2 p.m.
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.