The Utah Valley University softball team opened its seven-game stretch in Southern California this week with a pair of losses to Cal State Northridge at Matador Diamond on Wednesday afternoon. The Wolverines mustered just two hits on the day as they dropped the opener, 3-0,, and nightcap 6-1.
"Today was not our day," head coach Nikki Palmer said. "We did some good things but ultimately we need to be better and more consistent all around to get to where we want to be."
After getting no hits in the first game of the twin bill, sophomore Brianna Gatlin got the Wolverines (5-7) on the board early in the second game with a first-inning solo home run. The Matadors (15-3) quickly answered, however, with a run of their own in the last of the inning to tie the score at 1-1.
CSUN then slugged out a pair of homers in the third to extend its lead to 5-1 and put the game away in the fourth by tacking on another run.
Gatlin recorded both hits for UVU in the contest as she also singled in the sixth. The sophomore left fielder went 2-for-3 in the game with an RBI and a run scored.
Freshman Kellee Ramsey (0-1) recorded her first collegiate start in the circle for the Wolverines in game two and was saddled with the loss after allowing three runs on two hits in 2.1 innings of work. CSUN starter Brianna Elder improved to 6-1 on the year after going four innings and allowing just one run on one hit. Daphne Pofek earned the save (two) after not allowing a run in the final three innings of work.
After surrendering a run in the first and another in the third, UVU then gave up one more in the fourth as the Matadors jumped out to a 3-0 advantage in game one. Despite giving up a run in the fourth, sophomore pitcher Bailey Moore did a nice job of limiting the damage in the frame. With just one out and the bases loaded in the inning, Moore drew a fielder's choice at the plate, and after giving up a bases loaded walk she then battled back to strike out Carissa Sherman to end the threat.
CSUN's Zoe Conley pitched a gem in the circle, as the Wolverines didn't reach base until the sixth when senior Megan Peay reached on a two-out error. Peay was then stranded out first, however, as Conley calmly struck out junior Dynasty Lauvai looking to end the inning.
Conley then finished off CSUN's first no-hitter since 2008 by retiring the side in order in the seventh.
The reigning Big West Pitcher of the Week Conley (6-1) gave up no runs and no hits while striking out 16 batters and walking none in the complete-game outing. The 16 strikeouts mark the most times that UVU has been struck out in school history in a single-game.
UVU continues its stretch of seven games in five days in Southern California this weekend, as the Wolverines play five games at the Long Beach Louisville Slugger Invitational on Friday through Sunday. Utah Valley opens play Friday at Mayfair Park in Lakewood against Weber State at 10 a.m. MT, and Stanford at 12:30 p.m., on Friday.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.