Toledo, UNLV get best of UVU softball in Vegas

WOLVERINEGREENDOTCOM JC transfer Erin Romero connected for her first home run with UVU against UNLV on Saturday
JC transfer Erin Romero connected for her first home run with UVU against UNLV on Saturday

Feb. 15, 2014

Box Score vs. Toledo | Box Score vs. UNLV

LAS VEGAS -- Utah Valley University dropped both games of a Saturday doubleheader at the Easton Desert Classic in Las Vegas. The Wolverines fell 3-1 in their first ever meeting with Toledo in the early game, and dropped a 7-2 decision to host UNLV in the nightcap.

"I believe in this team and believe we have so much talent that thus far has been unseen," said Utah Valley head coach Nikki Palmer. "Tomorrow is a new day and we are looking forward to attacking it head on as a team."

The long ball ruled the night in Saturday's second game as UVU (0-8) and UNLV (2-6), playing its only game of the day, combined to hit four total home runs. Unfortunately for the Wolverines, the bulk of those blasts came off Rebel bats as homestanding UNLV used a homer in the first and two more in the fifth to pull away from Utah Valley, 7-2.

Pauline Monreal supplied two of those home runs for UNLV, notching her first in the top of the first with a three-run poke over the left field wall.

After the Rebels added another run in the third, Southern Nevada transfer Erin Romero hit her first home run in a Wolverine uniform in the top half of the fourth. A solo shot coming with two outs in the inning, Romero's round-tripper was the second blast of the season for UVU as a team and made the score 4-1 in favor of the home team.

"The bats started coming alive today, especially in the second game," Palmer said. "Erin had a really nice home run to start our rally."

Bailey Moore kept UNLV off the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth, and the Wolverines continued to chip away with another run in the top of the fifth. Brianna Gatlin got things started with a one-out single up the middle. In the next at-bat Brittney Vansway roped a double into the left centerfield gap, plating Gatlin all the way from first base. Now trailing 4-2 and two gone, Hailey Kofler worked a pinch hit walk to put two runners on for Debra Lovell. A wild pitch from UNLV pitcher Amanda Oliveto allowed Vansway and Kofler to scoot into scoring position, but the threat ended when Lovell popped out to Oliveto.



UVU stranded 10 runners total Saturday night, including twice leaving the bases loaded in the sixth and seventh innings.

With runs in back-to-back innings putting the Wolverines within striking distance, the Rebels answered in the bottom of the fifth with a decisive blow. A walk to Alyssa Cordova was proceeded by a two-run home run from Monreal, her second of the evening. Jamie DePippo connected for UNLV's second homer of the frame two batters later to settle the Rebels' final tally.

Trailing by five, UVU had its opportunities over its final six outs, but failed to push any runs across.

Josi Summers took the loss for UVU after pitching 2.0 innings and allowing four earned runs. She struck out three Rebels in her brief stint. Bailey Moore and Dara Rahm each threw two innings of relief.

Utah Valley fell into a similar, early hole in Saturday's first game when Toledo (1-3) scored three runs in its first at-bat, doing all its damage on three hits and getting some assistance from a Wolverine throwing error. As a result of the miscue, only one of the three runs was earned for UVU starting pitcher Moore.

The Wolverines got a run back in the bottom of the third when freshman Gatlin plated Morgan Summers with a one-out double down the left field line. Summers had reached safely in the prior at-bat after a bunt single and a throwing error put her on second base, setting the table for Gatlin's second RBI of the season.

But that UVU run was the last the game would see as Toledo pitcher Emily Anderson was able to keep the Wolverines off the board over the final four innings. Anderson threw all seven innings, striking out nine and allowing just two hits.

Behind Moore's starting effort, fellow freshman Kelsey Lawton twirled 3.2 innings for UVU. Lawton struck out two batters and worked out of a bases loaded jam in the top of the fourth inning. Josi Summers closed out the contest with 1.1 innings pitched, striking out two Rockets in the top of the seventh.

"Our pitchers worked very hard and really helped us stay in the game," said Palmer. "We just came up a bit short at the end."

The Wolverines have two more games at the Easton Desert Classic, both of which will be played early Sunday in Henderson, Nevada. UVU will face Ohio State of the Big Ten at 10 a.m. MT before wrapping up the weekend against Boise State at 12:15 p.m.