March 25, 2014
OREM, Utah -- Visiting Idaho State stole a win from Utah Valley University with a late, seventh-inning scoring burst that took the game into extra innings. The Wolverines ultimately fell to the Bengals 9-8 in eight innings of play.
UVU (7-19) were led by strong offensive performances from Jamie North, Debra Lovell and Brianna Gatlin. North and Gatlin went 3-for-4, while Lovell and Gatlin drove in three runs apiece.
The Wolverines owned an 8-5 advantage heading into the sixth inning when the Bengals (18-11) began their offensive surge. ISU reeled off one run in the sixth, and two in the seventh to send the game to the deciding extra inning where it manufactured what proved to be the winning run.
"As frustrating as this one was, we know that this game was a great setup to move us into the [WAC-opening] weekend," said UVU head coach Nikki Palmer. "ISU has a great club and they are very, very good. But we were able to manufacture 12 hits and punched back every inning and I know despite the disappointing result that this game will get us ready for conference."
Utah Valley showed its own offensive prowess earlier in the contest, scoring four runs in the fourth to grab its first lead. In the inning, North led off with a single and Kelli Fox added one of her own to advance North to second. In the next at-bat, Lovell pelted the ball to deep into the gap in left center for a standup double and two RBIs to tie up the game at 4-4. Gatlin would add another two-RBI double later in the frame to give the home team a 6-4 lead heading into the fifth.
"Gatlin has been consistent for us all season and she did another great job today," Palmer said. "Debra [Lovell] is starting to find her rhythm and she hasn't put her head down once despite having some setback at the plate. But we have all the confidence in the world in her and it's only a matter of time before she starts breaking through."
ISU got a run back in the top of the fifth, but the Wolverines extended their lead in the bottom half after North started with a leadoff double to center field. Lovell lifted a high fly ball deep to right-center field that was too hot to handle for the Bengal defense as the ball fell to the ground, allowing North to score on the play. Lovell ended up on second on the error. Dynasty Lauvai gave UVU its largest lead of the game after her double drove in Lovell to extended the lead to 8-5.
The Wolverines were blanked in the subsequent three innings, however, as ISU came roaring back to steal the win.
Josi Summers threw all eight innings for UVU, suffering the loss after allowing seven earned runs while striking out two.
Utah Valley will look to bounce back in its WAC-opening series at Bakersfield on Friday. The three-game series gets underway at 3 p.m. MT on Friday with a doubleheader to follow on Saturday.