CEDAR CITY, Utah, Mar. 29 – Southern Utah (8-23, 2-3 BSC) hosted Idaho State (13-16, 1-1) in a doubleheader to open up its first Big Sky home series on Friday. The Thunderbirds rallied for a 6-4 victory in the day’s first matchup but then fell to the Bengals by a 15-5 margin in a run-shortened second contest.
SUU found itself behind early in the first meeting as the visitors plated four runs in the first four innings. Terah Blackwell hit an RBI double to right center in the opening frame and then drove in two more with a base hit in the third. Hailey Breakwell added another RBI double in the top of the fourth to make it a 4-0 ISU advantage.
Senior Mikkel Griffin brought in the first run of the game for the Thunderbirds in the bottom of the fifth on a fielder’s choice and Kelsey Bryant scored two more runs with an RBI double. Kadi Henderson then singled up the middle to even things up at 4-4 before scoring the go-ahead run as Madison Resley hit a double up against the wall in centerfield.
Southern Utah picked up an insurance run on an RBI single from Kylee Wolf in the sixth inning and starter Ariel Zimmerman (5-12) wrapped up the game with three straight scoreless frames to seal the 6-4 victory. The junior pitcher allowed just three earned runs on nine hits while throwing her tenth complete game of the season. Bailey Foster (2-4) took the loss for Idaho State after giving up a pair of runs in just a third of an inning.
“We did everything in that first game. We walked, we hit the ball, we did everything that we needed to,” stated SUU head coach Kyle Magnusson. “That showed what we are capable of.”
The second game of the day would belong to the Bengals who put up six runs in their first turn at the plate and would stretch the margin to 10-0 in the third before eventually claiming a 15-5 win in five innings. Blackwell came up big again for ISU, driving in five runs and scoring two more while going 3-4 at the plate including a three-run blast to centerfield in the fourth.
SUU made a rally with five runs in the third inning to cut the deficit to 10-5, but Idaho State answered back with five of its own in the following frame to put the game away.
“With this game when you score you have to come back out and shut them down to keep that momentum going,” explained Magnusson. “We didn’t do that.”
Zimmerman (5-13) rounded out her day in the circle by taking the loss after giving up five runs on five hits in the first inning. Ashley Ostler worked the rest of the game for SUU, allowing 10 runs on 14 hits while striking out four batters. Kelsi Ott went all five innings for the Bengals to improve to 5-3 on the year.
Bryant led the Thunderbirds with three RBI for the day and went 3-6 at the plate with a double and two runs scored. Wolf also finished hitting 3-6 and Griffin chipped in two more RBI.
Southern Utah will host Idaho State tomorrow in a series finale scheduled to get underway at 12:00 p.m. Coverage of the game is available on www.suutbirds.com.