Senior catcher Katie Olinger drove in five runs on four hits, two of which were doubles
SUU Strategic Communications

Southern Utah Rallies to Split Doubleheader with N. Colorado

April 26, 2013
By SUU Strategic Communication

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CEDAR CITY, Utah, April 26 – Southern Utah’s (16-29, 9-5 BSC) late attempt at a comeback came up just short as the Thunderbirds were edged by Northern Colorado (14-28-1, 3-11) by a final score of 7-6 the opening game of Friday afternoon’s doubleheader. SUU was able to complete an even larger rally in the day’s second contest however, erasing an 11-4 deficit to come away with a 13-11 win.

“They made some great plays on defense or we probably could have scored even more,” stated SUU head coach Kyle Magnusson. “If that ball on the last out at the end of the first game falls we might have taken that game too.”

The Thunderbirds took the first advantage in the opener when senior catcher Katie Olinger drove in a pair of runs with a base hit, but the Bears came back to score three in the top of the second to pull ahead 3-2. Southern Utah took back the lead with a two more runs in the bottom half of the inning, but Northern Colorado pulled ahead by plating fours runs between the fourth and fifth innings to go up 7-4.

SUU battled back with a run-scoring double from Kylee Wolf in the sixth and another RBI for Olinger who was stranded at second in the final frame as the Bears made a diving catch in the outfield to hold on for a 7-6 win.

Ariel Zimmerman took the loss for the T-Birds after giving up six runs in four innings. The junior pitcher also struck out four batters and surrendered eight hits. Megan Wilkinson (5-15) took the win for the visitors after allowing two runs on six hits over 5.2 innings of relief.

The second matchup went back-and-forth early on until Northern Colorado tallied four runs in the third followed by another five to innings later to build an 11-4 advantage. Southern Utah started a rally in the bottom of the fifth as the team racked up six runs on four hits to pull back within one. Olinger picked up her fifth RBI of the day with a double down the right field line and then came home on a base hit from Ariel Morbeck in the next at bat. Kelsey Bryant brought in another score by walking in a run before Kadi Henderson cleared the bases with a double against the wall to bring SUU back within one at 11-10.

The T-Birds still trailed by one in the bottom of the sixth when Wolf hit a ball to right field to score Morbeck from second for the tying run. Bryant then added two more with a base hit to centerfield as Southern Utah completed the rally to come away with a 13-11 victory.

Senior pitcher Danielle Axe returned to the circle in the bottom of the seventh to make the save after throwing the first three innings while Ashley Ostler (3-4) earned the win after giving her team 1.1 innings of scoreless relief during the rally.

Olinger led the Thuderbirds at the plate, going 4-6 for five RBI. Bryant drove in another three runs while scoring four more with five hits including a double. Resley, Cora Cordova, Morbeck and Wolf each chipped in three apiece for Southern Utah.

“We are playing good defense and hitting the ball really well right now,” commented Magnusson. “They hit the ball 17 times and we only gave up one error, that shows that the defense is making plays.”

Northern Colorado got five RBI from Lindsey Smith, who had five hits on the day, along with another four from Morgan Yuhas, all of which came on a grand slam in the third inning of the second game. Jamie Pollak and Mikayla Duffy each turned in four hits for the Bears.

The two teams are set to meet in a series finale tomorrow at Noon. Southern Utah will host a special “Senior Day” to recognize the five seniors on its roster.