Behind three home runs and a complete-game shutout from sophomore Bailey Moore, the Utah Valley University softball team handed No. 25 Cal State Fullerton a 9-0 defeat in the Wilson/DeMarini Desert Classic finale on Sunday in Henderson, Nevada. The win marked UVU's first in program history over a ranked opponent at the NCAA Division I level.
"We really stuck with our plan and played our game today. We didn't worry about what they (Cal State Fullerton) were ranked, as we took it inning by inning and pitch by pitch," head coach Nikki Palmer said. "Bailey (Moore) did a great job and our infield came up huge defensively behind her. Obviously we also had a big offensive day. Overall it just kind of came together and we did what we know how to do."
Moore shined in the circle for UVU (5-5) as she allowed just four hits en route to her third complete-game outing of the season. The sophomore right-hander struck out three and drew 12 groundouts as she held the ranked Titan (7-3) offense at bay all morning long. Moore improved to 3-4 on the year with the victory.
The Wolverines scored all of their runs via the long ball in the contest, as sophomores Brittney Vansway and Brianna Gatlin, as well as freshman Taleigh Williams, each homered. Vansway belted a grand slam in the game, while Williams added a three-run home run and Gatlin chipped in a two-run one.
UVU didn't waste any time getting on the board as it jumped out to a 4-0 lead thanks to Vansway's grand slam in the top of the first inning. With the bases full of Wolverines and nobody out in the frame, Vansway drove the ball over the fence in center field to score all four runs. The home run was Vansway's second in as many days and third on the season.
Still holding to a 4-0 advantage in the second, Gatlin got ahold of a 2-1 pitch and sent it deep to left-center to extend the Utah Valley lead to 6-0. The home run was Gatlin's first of the season.
The game remained 6-0 until the sixth when the freshman Williams joined the long-ball club by belting her first collegiate home run to the opposite field in right. The three-run shot gave the Wolverines a 9-0 advantage.
Moore then retired the first two Titan hitters in the bottom of the inning before giving up a two-out double to CSF's Eliza Crawford. Cal State Fullerton's Kylie Padilla then followed with a single into right field, but UVU right fielder Haley Harrison made a nice defensive play to throw out CSF pinch runner Arianna Espinoza at the plate to end the game.
The freshman leadoff hitter Harrison led UVU at the plate in the game by going 3-for-4 with two runs scored. Vansway, Gatlin, Williams and freshman Sydney Austin added a hit apiece in the historic victory for the Wolverines.
The run-rule victory marked UVU's first since it defeated Santa Clara, 12-4, in six innings last season.
The Wolverines finished going 2-3 at the Wilson/DeMarini Desert Classic with wins over New Mexico and CSF.
UVU's 9-0 win over Fullerton comes just a day removed from when the Titans handed BYU an 11-0 defeat at the same tournament.
The Wolverines now take the next week off before returning to action at Cal State Northridge on Feb. 25. Following a doubleheader against the Matadors, UVU will take part at the Long Beach Louisville Slugger Invitational that weekend.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.