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Softball drops two in tough Saturday doubleheader
Feb. 16, 2013
LAS VEGAS -- The Utah Valley University softball team suffered a pair of losses Saturday at the Easton Desert Classic, dropping a 12-4 decision to No. 9 California in the first game of the doubleheader before losing in extra innings on a walk-off grand slam to host school UNLV.
Trailing 5-4 in the top of the seventh inning against UNLV (5-3), Krystin Jachim got the rally going for UVU (5-4) with a leadoff double to right center. In the next at-bat, Dynasty Lauvai executed a sacrifice bunt, sending Megan Peay -- a pinch-runner in place of Jachim -- to third base. Jazmyne Cortinas worked a walk to put runners at the corners before Jamie North reached on a fielding error by the Rebel shortstop. Peay scored on the error, tying the score at 5-5 and erasing what was a 5-1 deficit entering the fifth inning.
The Wolverines threatened to go ahead late when a groundout from Megan Summers to the right side advanced Kelli Fox and Cortinas to second and third, respectively. After a walk to Dara Kosanke, Kylee Brinkerhoff stepped to the plate with ducks on the pond, but went down swinging to end the threat.
In the UNLV seventh, the Rebels were able to advance a runner to third with two outs, but UVU pitcher Tiffany Mills got Katie Uriarte to pop out to Lauvai at second, forcing extra innings.
UVU went down in order in the top of the eighth and quickly found itself in trouble as UNLV placed the winning run on third base with just one out. A couple walks loaded the bases, but the Wolverines seemed poised to get out of the jam after a Tayler Van Acker grounder allowed Lauvai to throw out the lead runner at home for the second out.
Unfortunately, Stefany Valentino -- Rebel designated hitter -- played hero at the very next at bat, lifting the game-winning home run over the right-centerfield fence.
With the walk-off grand slam, UNLV grabbed a 9-5 win -- a score line that betrays the tight contest the game truly was.
"Tiffany [Mills] pitched a heck of a game and the girls fought hard to pull all the way back," said head coach Rachel Hartgrove. "We just had a couple plays we didn't execute that kept us from possibly winning in regulation. Just an all-around tough loss for us.
Four Wolverines had two-hit ballgames: Brinkerhoff (2-of-5), Amanda Robinson (2-of-4), Lovell (2-of-5), and Jachim (2-of-4). Lovell also delivered one of three UVU RBIs, as did Lauvai and Cortinas.
In Saturday's first game, UVU went toe-to-toe with No. 9 Cal (5-2). Ranked third in the preseason polls, the Golden Bears used a seven-run second inning to grab an early advantage. The Wolverines responded with three runs of their own in the bottom half, but the damage had been done as Cal held on for a 12-4 victory from there.
Brinkerhoff went 1-for-3 in the game, delivering two RBIs. Freshman Morgan Summers went 2-for-2 with a triple.
It was the second consecutive day that UVU faced off with an opponent ranked in the top-10. The Wolverines opened the invitational against No. 7 Oregon on Friday, falling 9-1.
Utah Valley concludes the Easton Desert Classic on Sunday with another tough matchup: No. 20 Hawai'i. On the weekend, UH has wins over BYU, Oregon, and San Jose State. Its lone loss came against UCLA.