Softball Splits Doubleheader With Northern Colorado
CEDAR CITY, Utah - After a busy pre-conference season, the Southern Utah softball team began Big Sky conference play Friday afternoon at Kathryn Berg Field. The team hosted the Northern Colorado Bears for an action-packed doubleheader that ended in both teams being able to walk away with a win.
Game One: SUU 6, UNCO 5
Both teams were pretty quiet to get things started Friday afternoon. Each team had just three hits and no runs scored through the first three and a half innings, until the bats woke up in the bottom of the fourth inning. Shortstop Kendall Kapitzke hit a leadoff solo shot to right center for her fifth longball of the season and the first run of the game. The home runs didn’t stop there however, as catcher Morgan Leonard hit a two-run shot four batters later to make it 4-0 SUU.
The Bears answered with four runs of their own in the top of the fifth inning, highlighted by a two-RBI double from shortstop Erica Dick and a two-run home run from first baseman Rachel Johnson. Northern Colorado added another run in the sixth on a leadoff home run from second baseman Sophia Taylor, giving them a 5-4 lead heading into the Thunderbird half of the inning.
With one out in the inning, second baseman Javlyn Weaver singled through the left side bringing Leonard to the plate. The senior belted her third home run of the season, and second of the game, over the fence in left center giving the Thunderbirds a 6-5 lead.
The Bears threatened with runners on second and third with no outs in the seventh, but relief pitcher Cheyenne Cudahy got three straight outs, preventing them from scoring and locking up the 6-5 win.
Game Two: SUU 9, UNCO 10
The bats stayed hot for both teams in the second game as the Thunderbirds had at least one hit in each inning and the Bears had hits in five of their seven innings.
Southern Utah found themselves behind early when third baseman Jordyn Wiatrak hit a two-out, two-run home run in the first inning off starting pitcher Samantha Guile. The Thunderbirds answered back in the bottom half of the inning when center fielder Sarah Murphy lead things off with a triple to right field and came home on a sacrifice fly from Kapitzke.
The Bears scored another run in the top of the second to make it 3-1 until Weaver hit the fourth Thunderbird home run of the day to leadoff the second inning. The score remained 3-2 until the fourth inning when the Bears used two hits and two walks to score three runs and extending their lead to four runs. Right fielder Nicole Simonson answered back for the Thunderbirds this time with a two-RBI double to left center scoring Murphy and Payton Hart.
After adding another run in the fifth to make it 7-4, UNCO left fielder Kaley Garcia hit a three-run home run off Cudahy, giving the Bears a comfortable 10-4 lead in the final inning.
However, the Thunderbirds were about to give up just yet. Down to their final three outs, they used seven singles and a sacrifice fly from pinch hitter Kaitlin Williams to score five runs and cut the Bears’ lead down to just one run. The five spot wouldn’t be enough though as they fell to Bears 10-9 and moved to 1-1 in Big Sky play.
At the end of the day, the Thunderbirds compiled 26 hits and 15 runs on the day. They committed just one error between the two games and hit four home runs. Javlyn Weaver finished a combined five for seven with three RBIs and Morgan Leonard was four for six with four RBIs.
Coming Up Next
The Thunderbirds and the Bears will play the final game in the series Saturday morning. The game originally had a start time of 12:00 p.m., but in anticipation of inclement weather the start time has been moved to 10:00 a.m.
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