Courtesy: SUU Media Relations
TUCSON, Ariz., Feb. 15 – Southern Utah (2-5) softball continued early season tournament play with an appearance at the Hillenbrand Invitational at the University of Arizona on Thursday. The T-Birds started the day with a 7-0 loss to Nebraska (6-0) before bouncing back to down Utah State (0-6) by a final score of 6-4. The game marked the second time that SUU has faced the Aggies this year, and the second time it came away with a win.
Nebraska jumped out to an early 5-0 lead in the first matchup of the day, with five runs in the opening frame. Freshman infielder Hailey Decker capped off the scoring with a two-run blast to center. The Huskers added two more scores in the third inning with an RBI single and a sacrifice fly to stretch the margin to 7-0.
The Thunderbirds threatened to score in the bottom of the seventh after Kelsey Bryant singled through the left side to put a runner on with just one out. A fielder’s choice and a line out to third brought the game to an end.
Senior Danielle Axe (1-2) took the loss for the T-Birds after surrendering seven runs, five earned, on six hits in three innings. Ashely Ostler also made an appearance in the circle for SUU, throwing three scoreless innings with a pair of strikeouts. Emily Lockman (2-0) went the distance for Nebraska, earning a complete game shutout while giving up just four hits and striking out three.
After a quick turnaround, Southern Utah retook the field for a matchup with Utah State. The Thunderbirds put up the opening run in the second game as Mikkel Griffin homered to right center in the first inning to make the score 1-0.
The Aggies plated a pair of scores in the fourth inning to take the lead, but SUU answered by putting up five runs in the bottom half of the frame to jump out in front, 6-2. Cora Cordova brought the first two in with an RBI triple to right field before the Thunderbirds loaded up the bases as Kelli Hales and Megan Neilson both drew walks. Bryant then drove a base-clearing double to center to stretch the advantage to four.
Utah State chipped away at the lead with a run in the sixth and another score in the seventh, but SUU pitcher Ariel Zimmerman recorded the final out with a strikeout to preserve the 6-4 win.
Zimmerman (1-3) tossed a complete game for Southern Utah, allowing just four runs on seven hits while striking out three batters, to pick up her first win of the year. Noelle Johnson (0-3) took the loss for the Aggies after giving up six runs over four innings.
The Thunderbirds return to the field tomorrow afternoon at the Hillenbrand Invitational where they will meet up with No. 16/17 Arizona at 4:00 p.m. and Purdue at 8:00 p.m. Coverage of the games is available at www.suutbirds.com.
Sat. Oct. 18
vs. Snow College
Sat. Oct. 11
@ Brigham Young University
Sat. Oct. 11
@ Utah Valley University
Fri. Oct. 10
vs. Salt Lake Community College
Sat. May. 17
@ Long Beach State
(L) 6 -9
Fri. May. 16
Fri. Oct. 24
@ Dixie State