TUCSON, Ariz., Feb. 17 – Southern Utah (2-8) concluded play at the Hillenbrand Invitational with a 7-2 defeat against Drake (6-4) on Sunday. The T-Birds finished 1-4 at the tournament after falling to the Bulldogs, Purdue, Arizona and Nebraska while picking up their second win of the season over Utah State.
The matchup with Drake went back-and-forth early on as the Bulldogs scored in their first at bat when junior infielder Amy Pierce reached home an on errant throw. The Thunderbirds got the run back in the bottom half of the inning with an RBI double to right center off the bat of Kelsey Bryant. SUU then took a 2-1 advantage in the following frame as Cora Cordova drove in Therysa Dyer from for the go-ahead run.
Drake came back to even the score in the top of the third and went on to add two more runs in the fifth inning to take a 4-2 lead. The Bulldogs added three insurance runs in the sixth as Nybo picked up her third RBI of the day and held off the T-Birds down the stretch to take the 7-2 win.
SUU pitcher Ariel Zimmerman (1-5) suffered her second loss of the week after giving up four runs on four hits over five innings. Ashley Ostler allowed three runs on three hits during one inning in the circle and Danielle Axe closed out the game with a perfect frame in the seventh. Rebekah Schmidt (2-3) earned the in win relief for DU after striking out five batters in six scoreless innings.
Bryant’s RBI in the first inning brings her total to a team best mark of eight so far this season. The senior also leads SUU with a .406 batting average and four doubles.
The Thunderbirds are off next week but will return to the field March 1-3 at the Libby Matson Tournament in Stockton, Calif. Southern Utah will face San Jose State and Pacific on Friday, before meeting up with Nevada on Saturday. Coverage of the games is available at www.suutbirds.com.