CEDAR CITY, Utah, Apr. 5 – Southern Utah (10-26) kept its Big Sky record even at 4-4 by rallying to split a doubleheader with visiting Sacramento State (18-14, 3-2) on Friday afternoon. The Hornets captured the first game by a score of 8-0 in five innings and led early on in the second matchup before SUU came back to claim a 3-1 win.
The visitors took control in the opening contest after putting up a six-run third inning to knock SUU starter Ariel Zimmerman (6-15) out of the game. Kortney Solis started things off with a two-run RBI double and Lauren Blair added a grand slam to put Sacramento State up 6-0. The Hornets added a pair of runs over the next two turns at the plate to set the final margin at 8-0. Caitlin Brooks (10-5) threw all five innings and gave up just two hits with eight strikeouts.
Sacramento State struck first again in the opening frame of the second matchup as Solis drove in a run with an infield single. The score remained 1-0 in favor of the visitors until Kelsey Bryant drove an RBI base hit to right field to even things up in the bottom of the fifth. Southern Utah then claimed its first lead after plating a pair of runs on a drive back up the middle from junior infielder Kadi Henderson.
The T-Birds defense and pitcher Ashley Ostler (2-4) shut out the Hornets over the final eight frames to seal the 3-1 victory. The SUU sophomore fanned eight batters in the contest to up her total to 10 strikeouts on the day. Overall Ostler worked 9 full innings and allowed just one earned run. Taylor Stroud (4-5) tossed a complete game for the visitors and was charged with three unearned runs on seven hits with a pair of strikeouts.
“Ashley was amazing. We needed her to throw well and she threw about as well as you can throw,” stated SUU head coach Kyle Magnusson. “Her play and our defense was the reason we won today. She gave us two big strikeouts with the bases loaded and then got us out of a jam at the end by striking out the last batter.”
Freshmen Kylee Wolf and Kelli Hales each posted a pair of hits and a score for Southern Utah while Henderson drove in two runs and Bryant added a third RBI and scored a run.
The two teams will wrap up things up tomorrow with a series-deciding game three set to begin at noon. Coverage of SUU softball is available at www.suutbirds.com.