Ariel Zimmerman allowed just two earned runs on five hits from the circle for SUU
SUU Strategic Communications

Portland State Comes Out on Top at Big Sky Championship

May 11, 2013
By SUU Strategic Communication

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POCATELLO, Idaho, May 11 – Southern Utah (18-34) finished its 2013 season by advancing all the way to the championship round at the first ever Big Sky Softball Championship this past week. The Thunderbirds knocked both Sacramento State and Idaho State out of the tournament, but were unable to get past eventual conference champion Portland State (25-29) who claimed the deciding game by a final score of 4-0 on Saturday.

It looked like the Thunderbirds had a chance to take an early advantage when leadoff batter Kylee Wolf and Kelsey Bryant both came up with base hits in their first trip to the plate, but a strikeout for Bertrand and two straight groundouts ended the threat. SUU put two more runners on in the following inning but came up empty once again.

Portland State finally put the opening run on the board in bottom of the third as Becca Bliss drove an RBI double to left center to score Sadie Lopez from first. The Vikings then went on to add three more in the fifth. Bliss drove in Aubrey Nitschelm with a single up the middle and an SUU fielding error allowed Carly McEachran to reach home on the same play. Another Thunderbird miscue during the ensuing at bat brought in Bliss to extend the margin to 4-0.

Reigning Big Sky Pitcher of the Year Anna Bertrand took care of the rest as she recorded three straight outs in both the sixth and seventh innings to seal the victory and the conference championship for Portland State.

SUU came up with four hits off of Bertrand (21-15), but left all of seven runners of its runners on base. The Viking ace went all seven innings and struck out four batters. Ariel Zimmerman (11-20) had a solid outing for the T-Birds in the circle, allowing just two earned runs on five hits in six innings. The junior pitcher also struck out three batters while walking just one.

Saturday’s game marks the conclusion of the season for Southern Utah, with the Thunderbirds undoubtedly making a strong showing in the Big Sky Conference.