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USU softball: Harmon shines as Aggies clinch series Saturday against LA Tech

Utah State softball (10-37, 4-11 WAC) rallied behind senior starting pitcher Mandy Harmon, who recorded her second complete game in as many games against Louisiana Tech on Saturday, as USU defeated the Lady Techsters, 5-2.

Powering the Aggie offense was senior infielder Christine Thomsen who went 3-for-4 in Saturday's game and posted an impressive 8-for-11 mark at the plate in the Western Athletic Conference three-game series.

Harmon went the distance in the series finale, working seven innings and tied a season-best nine strikeouts in the game. All of the senior's punchouts were recorded with Lady Techster hitters watching the final strike go by them. She also recorded nine strikeouts in the nightcap of Friday's doubleheader.

The Lady Techsters put their first run on the board in the top of the first inning to take an early, 1-0, lead.

Utah State wasted no time in getting after Louisiana Tech starting pitcher Anna Cross, as the home team scored three runs in the bottom half of the opening frame. Junior infielder Allison Lenzora earned USU its first base runner of the game by drawing a one-out walk. Thomsen connected with her first hit of the game as she delivered a single into left field.

Sophomore outfielder Hailey Froton brought Lenzora and Thomsen in to score with a triple into the left-center field gap. It was Froton's fifth triple of the season, which is not only a team-high but also a WAC-best. Froton came in to score on an infield bit by sophomore infielder Nicole Arata to push the Aggies to a 3-1 lead heading into the second frame.

Both teams had their chances in the next three-innings of action, but pitching and defense for both squads prevailed as neither team produced a run in the second, third or fourth innings.

Utah State added to its run total in the bottom of the fifth frame as Harmon helped her cause in the circle with a one-out double that scored two runs. Froton opened the inning with a bloop single down the right field line. Arata also worked her way on base by drawing a one-out walk. Harmon cleared the bases with a one-out two-RBI double to deep center field.

Louisiana Tech would not bid farewell to Logan without a fight, however, as it looked to rally in the top of the sixth inning. LA Tech plated a run on a hit into center field from Hailey Winter that allowed a runner to score from second. The Lady Techsters loaded the bases against Harmon with two outs as Claudia Cantu came to the plate looking to do damage as a pinch hitter. Harmon slammed the door on threat as she struck Cantu out looking to end the inning.

Harmon put the final touches on her complete game by striking out the final three Louisiana Tech batter she faced in one-two-three order to end the game. All three of the batters she struck out went down looking at strike three. The senior captured her fourth win of the season and is now 4-21 on the season, while her squad is now 10-37 overall and improves to 4-11 in WAC games. It was the second home series WAC win of the season for Utah State, as it bested UTSA in two-of-three games on April 5-6 in Kaysville, Utah.

USU will next take the field Wednesday as it hosts border foe Idaho State in the final game of a seven-game homestand at LaRee and LeGrand Johnson Field. The Aggies have bested the Bengals in two of the three games the two teams have played already this season. Wednesday's action is set to get underway at 4 p.m., and as always admission is free to all fans. It will also be Dollar Dog Day at Johnson Field where hot dogs will be a dollar to all in attendance.

Doug Hoffman is the assistant athletic director for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.