SALT LAKE CITY — Junior shortstop Kelsi Hoopiiaina had two hits in three at-bats with a run scored, but the University of Utah softball team opened its Pac-12 Conference series against No. 23 Oregon State with a 10-2 loss on Friday at Ute Field.
The Utah (25-22, 0-16 Pac-12) offense was led by Hoopiiaina, who had two hits in three at-bats with a run scored. Hoopiiaina drove Utah's lone extra-base hit of the contest, a double in the third, which was her team-leading 10th double of the season. The Riverton, Utah native now leads the team with 18 extra-base hits in 2012. She also drew a walk and stole a base to move to 16-for-16 on steal attempts this season, a mark that also leads the team..
Junior Katelyn Elliott, freshman Kate Dickman and Hannah Clements each recorded singles for the Utes. Elliott also drove in a pair of runs and is now third on the team with 22 RBI this year. For her career, she has driven in 28 runs over her career. She is now the team's longest current hit streak as she has recorded hits in each of her last five games.
Senior Generra Nielson started her 36th game this season, but unfortunately suffered her 15th loss of the year after throwing 6.0 innings and allowing three earned runs on six hits to go with six strikeouts. The Blanding, Utah native has struck out 260 hitters this year and 458 over her Ute career. Despite only in her second season at Utah, Nielson ranks fifth in school history in strikeouts and needs just 12 more to pass Meghan Dyer (2006-07) and move into fourth.
The Utes continue their series with the Beavers tomorrow at 4 p.m. MT. Follow along with the live stats and listen to the play-by-play call at utahutes.com.
LAS CRUCES, N.M. — Utah State softball depended on its defense and pitching early to keep within striking distance of New Mexico State but could not hold the crimson Aggies off late as NMSU plated two runs late in the game to secure the win over USU, 4-1. The northern Aggies will look to rebound in Saturday's doubleheader.
Utah State is now 16-32 overall, 3-13 Western Athletic Conference action this year, while NMSU picks up a vital conference win and improves to 21-27 overall, 2-13 in the WAC. Both teams are fighting for that sixth spot in the upcoming WAC Tournament in Las Cruces.
Leading off the third inning, sophomore infielder Allison Lenzora delivered the first hit of the game from either team with a single through the middle, giving Utah State its first base runner of the game. Sophomore outfielder Annie Thomas moved Lenzora into scoring position with a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt. Junior infielder Christine Thomsen delivered for USU with a double to the right-center field, giving the visiting Aggies and early 1-0 lead.
New Mexico State responded in the bottom half of the third frame as it worked the bases loaded against starting pitcher junior Shelbi Tyteca and plated two-runs to take a 2-1 lead into the fourth inning. NMSU threatened again in the bottom of the fourth with a runner on third with two outs, Tyteca enduced a fly ball to right field that was handled by sophomore outfielder Kassandra Uchida to end the threat.
The Aggies looked to tie the ball game up in the top of the sixth inning with a runner on second base with all-time home run-leader, senior infielder Kelley Kaneshiro at the plate. Utah State could not convert on the opportunity as it committed the next out to end the top of the inning.
New Mexico State added two more runs in the bottom of the sixth frame to push its lead out to a 4-1 advantage heading into the top of the seventh.
USU tried to rally late in the game as it trailed by three as it came to the plate for its final at bats of the game. Lenzora looked to spark the offense with a one-out single to center field. The Aggies could not advance the runner past first, as NMSU's defense converted the last two outs of the inning to end the game.
Tyteca was charged with the loss in Friday's action, falling to 4-9 on the season, while Celisha Walker improves to 6-4 on the season. Thomsen led the offense in Friday's match-up, going 2-for-3 from the plate with one RBI.
Utah State will conclude its match-up with the crimson Aggies in a doubleheader on Saturday, April 28. The opening game of the day is set to start at 4 p.m., action in for the second game of the day will start approximatly half an hour after the first game concludes.
PROVO, Utah - BYU shortstop JC Clayton