After being held scoreless by Portland State earlier in the day, the Utah Valley University softball team scored early and often in the second game of the Wilson/DeMarini Desert Classic on Saturday as it defeated New Mexico by a score of 9-3. UVU slugged out 11 hits in the contest, including a pair of home runs, en route to the victory.
"It was great to see everyone connecting offensively," head coach Nikki Palmer said. "It was a full team effort and I was proud of our younger players for coming up with some big hits."
Eight different Wolverines (4-5) recorded hits in the contest. Freshmen Jaylen Watson and Taleigh Williams, as well as junior Tiani Hensley, led the way by recording two hits apiece. Watson and sophomore Brittney Vansway each homered, while Hensley recorded a triple and a double.
UVU's bats came to life right from the get-go as it jumped out to a 4-0 advantage over UNM (3-5) of the Mountain West Conference in the top of the first. Sophomore Brianna Gatlin started the scoring with a double to center field to bring around freshman Haley Harrison all the way from first. Fellow sophomore Kori Barrios followed with an RBI single up the middle, and Hensley capped the rally with a two-run double to left-center.
The Lobos then pushed across a run of their own in the last of the third and two more in the fourth, but freshman Makayla Shadle halted the UNM rally by striking out Jasmine Casados with the bases loaded.
With the Wolverines holding a 6-3 lead in the fifth, Watson and Vansway hit back-to-back home runs to extend UVU's lead to 8-3. Watson's first career collegiate home run was a no doubt moon shot well over the wall in left, while Vansway followed with an opposite field long ball to right. Williams then capped the scoring for Utah Valley with an RBI infield single later in the frame.
Shadle, who went the distance for UVU in the circle, allowed just four more base runners the rest of the way to record the complete game victory for the Wolverines.
The win marked Shadle's second of the young season as she improves to 2-1 on the year. The freshman right-hander fanned four Lobos in seven innings of work, while scattering eight hits and stranding 10 runners on the base paths.
Tess McPherson (0-2) took the loss for UNM as she allowed four earned runs in just two-thirds of an inning.
Earlier in the day, a pair of five-run innings propelled Portland State to a 10-0 win over Utah Valley.
The Vikings (3-5) did all of their damage in the fourth and fifth innings, plating five runs in each of the frames.
UVU starter Bailey Moore held Portland State without a hit until the fourth when the Vikings loaded the bases with nobody out before a two-run double from Ashley Smith broke a scoreless tie. PSU scored the five runs on just three hits in the inning. In the fifth, Portland State scored its runs on just two hits, taking advantage of two walks and a hit batter before a three-run home run from J Stanford capped the run scoring.
Harrison had one of three Utah Valley hits with a triple in the first inning.
UVU concludes the Wilson/DeMarini Desert Classic on Sunday at 10 a.m. MT, at the Stephanie Lynn Craig Complex in Henderson. Following Sunday's game, the Wolverines are off until Feb. 25, when they travel to Southern California to face Cal State Northridge in a doubleheader.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.