Less than 24 hours after defeating Wisconsin of the Big Ten Conference on opening day, the Utah Valley University softball team managed to hang on to beat Virginia of the ACC, 5-4, on Saturday morning at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Arizona.
The win marked UVU's second straight over an opponent from a power conference.
"This is great win for us, and it is a strong testament of how the team has grown," head coach Nikki Palmer said. "The girls really fought through this one and I was proud of their determination for not allowing them (Virginia) to come back."
Sophomore hurler Bailey Moore helped lead the Wolverines to victory as she managed to pitch out of a jam in the bottom of the seventh inning. With UVU holding a 5-3 advantage entering the last of the seventh, Moore allowed consecutive doubles to UVA (1-3) sluggers to cut the score to just one, at 5-4. With the tying run on second base and no outs in the inning, the sophomore then responded by striking out Virginia's three-hole hitter Danni Ingraham. Moore then drew back-to-back infield groundouts from UVA's Kaitlin Fitzgerald and Aimee Chapdelainer to hold on to the one-run victory.
The win marked Moore's first of the season (1-1). In 6.1 innings of work, Moore allowed just two runs on six hits, with two strikeouts and two walks.
Utah Valley jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the game after scoring a pair of runs in the second and two more in the fourth. In her first collegiate start, freshman catcher Dana De La Torre came through with a two-RBI single in the second inning to start the scoring for the Wolverines. Junior Dynasty Lauvai and sophomore Brittney Vansway then supplied the offense in the fourth as Lauvai drove home the third run of the game with an RBI single, and Vansway promptly followed with the fourth thanks to a run producing double.
The game got interesting in the last of the sixth as the Cavaliers scored back-to-back runs thanks to a pair of bases loaded walks to pull within a run at 4-3. Sophomore first baseman Hailey Kofler then answered for the Wolverines in the top of the seventh with a key solo home run, her second of the season, to give UVU a 5-3 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh.
Junior Morgan Smith led UVU at the plate in the contest by going 2-for-4 with a pair of singles and a run scored. Five other Wolverines finished with a hit apiece in the game, and four of those drove home runs.
Utah Valley faced San José State later on Saturday, but it couldn’t maintain its lead in a wild game against the Spartans on Saturday evening at the Tempe Sports Complex as it fell by a score of 10-7.
The two teams combined for 17 runs, 21 hits and eight errors in the ballgame. UVU evens to 2-2 on the young season with the loss, while the Spartans improve to 3-1 with the victory.
After surrendering a pair of runs in the top of the first, UVU quickly answered in the bottom half of the frame thanks to a two-run home run off the bat of Vansway. The Wolverines then managed to take their first lead of the game in the second inning when they took advantage of a couple of Spartan miscues.
Leading 5-2 in the third, San José State then began to chip away at the deficit. SJSU pulled to within a run, at 5-4 in the fifth, after a pair of solo home runs. UVU then struck back with a run of its own in the bottom of the inning thanks to an RBI double from Lauvai to take a 6-4 advantage.
The Spartans of the Mountain West Conference then took their first lead of the game, at 7-6, after scoring three unearned runs in the sixth. Utah Valley didn’t go away though, as it tied it up at 7-all in the bottom of the sixth on a clutch RBI single from freshman Haley Harrison. The tie didn’t last for long, however, as SJSU managed to push across three more decisive runs in the seventh to propel it to victory. The go-ahead run came in on a bases loaded walk, and San José State’s Alyssa Martinez followed by driving home two more via a two-RBI single.
Moore was saddled with the loss (1-2) in 5.2 innings of relief for UVU, while SJSU reliever Berlyn Rippentrop picked up the win (1-0).
Harrison and Vansway paced Utah Valley at the plate with two hits apiece. Five other Wolverines recorded one hit each in the contest.
UVU closes play at the season-opening tournament on Sunday at 9:30 a.m., versus Indiana of the Big Ten Conference at the Tempe Sports Complex. Following Sunday’s game, the Wolverines head back out on the road to play five more games at UNLV’s Wilson/DeMarini Classic in Henderson, Nevada, next weekend.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.