Softball makes weekend trip to Vegas, Easton Desert Classic

WOLVERINEGREENDOTCOM Freshman shortstop Brittney Vansway
Freshman shortstop Brittney Vansway

Feb. 13, 2014

Live Stats: Toledo | UNLV | Ohio State | Boise State

OREM, Utah -- Only five days removed from the season-opening Red Desert Classic in St. George, Utah, the Utah Valley University softball team heads back down south to Las Vegas for another quintet of games at the Easton Desert Classic. Beginning Friday, the Wolverines will play five games in three days, including doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday.

The weekend gets underway Friday in a 7 p.m. MT meeting with Long Beach State. Saturday's doubleheader features Toledo (4:45 p.m.) and host-UNLV (7 p.m.), while another twin bill follows on Sunday as the Wolverines face Ohio State (10 a.m.) and Boise State (12:15 p.m.).

The Last Meeting
Utah Valley5  
UNLV9(8 inn.)
February 16, 2013
Las Vegas, Nevada
Softball drops two in tough Saturday doubleheader
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.

The Last Meeting
Boise State2
Utah Valley3
March 29, 2011
Provo, Utah (Miller Park)
Perez Leads UVU to a Walk-Off Win over Boise State
Amanda Perez singled home the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning Tuesday afternoon against Boise State to give the Wolverines (7-14) a walk-off 3-2 win over the Broncos (18-11) at BYU's Gail Miller Field.

Live stats for all games except LBSU can be accessed through throughout the weekend.

"Our team is feeling really positive coming into this week," said UVU head coach Nikki Palmer. "We had a great week of practice, a focused week of practice, and I think everyone is ready to get back out there and put together a strong weekend."

Long Beach opened the season with a 3-2 record at their own Mizuno Invitational last weekend, earning wins over Santa Clara, George Washington, and Kent State. Junior infielder Ashley Holmes went 6-for-11 (.545) in four games with two home runs and three RBI. Pitcher Amanda Hansen was 3-0 with a 1.62 ERA for the 49ers.

Host UNLV began the season with a 1-4 mark at the Sportco Kick Off Classic, also played in Las Vegas. The Rebels picked up a victory over UC Davis, but fell to Arkansas, Washington, Baylor, and San Diego. Emily Haslinger, a sophomore catcher, pumped out two home runs for four RBI last weekend while a pair of UNLV pitchers got two starting nods. Both Amanda Oliveto and Alex Petrolia went 0-2.

Big Ten member Ohio State also went 1-4 at another Kick Off Classic, this time hosted by Florida Atlantic. The Buckeyes fell to the homestanding Owls and St. John's while also dropping extra-inning contests to Tulsa and Louisville. OSU claimed its only victory of the weekend against Northern Illinois in a 6-4 decision. Caitlin Conrad shone for the Buckeyes, batting .500 with two home runs and team-leading five RBI.

Boise State is the third 1-4 team the Wolverines will face this weekend, coming off four consecutive losses at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz. The Broncos got the season started right with a 6-1 win over Utah, but suffered four straight losses to Creighton, North Carolina State, Northwestern, and Oregon.

Finally, Toledo will be making its 2014 season debut at the Easton Desert Classic. Last season the Rockets went 17-36 and are led by sophomore outfielder Jessica Lemieux who batted .371 in 40 games last season and drove in 21 runs. Pitcher Marla Gooding, another sophomore, also returns after going 11-23 and posting a team-best 4.41 ERA a year ago.

The Wolverines are a combined 2-9 against this weekend's competition, with all 11 of those matchups coming against LBSU, UNLV, and BSU. UVU is 2-3 against the Broncos, but has never beaten the 49ers or Rebels.

This is the second trip to the Easton Desert Classic for Utah Valley in its program history. Making their debut last season, the Wolverines went 1-4, suffering losses to host UNLV, No. 7 Oregon, No. 9 California, and No. 20 Hawai'i. UVU's lone win came against eventual WAC champion San Jose State by a final score of 4-1.

Utah Valley will be seeking its first win of the season in Las Vegas after going 0-5 at the Red Desert Classic last weekend. A few freshmen showed some serious potential at the Classic as Brianna Gatlin and Brittney Vansway batted a team-leading .333 while Hailey Kofler belted her first career home run in only her second at-bat during the Wolverines' 7-3 loss to Idaho State. Gatlin also had an RBI against the Bengals.

Following the Easton Desert Classic, another five-game tournament awaits UVU at the end of February. Hosted by LBSU, the Mayfair Invitational will pit the Wolverines against the likes of Illinois, Oregon State, and Michigan. Oregon State was an NCAA qualifier a year ago while the Wolverines of UM, currently ranked fourth in the nation, advanced all the way to the College World Series.