Thunderbirds Split Doubleheader, Win Series Over Vikings
HILLSBORO, Ore. - After a rain delayed victory Friday evening, the Southern Utah softball team played the final two games of a three-game series with the Portland State Vikings Saturday night under the lights in Hillsboro. The first game ended in a 10-1 victory for the Vikings, but the the Thunderbirds bounced back in the final game of the series with a 7-2 win to take the series.
“We struggled in the first game, there was probably some carry over from a very long day yesterday, but I am very proud of the way we bounced back in the second game,” head coach Tom Gray said. “Solid approaches at the plate and good defense behind an outstanding effort from Sammy in the circle allowed us to come away with the win.”
Game One: SUU 1, PSU 10
The Vikings scored eight runs in the first two innings of Saturday’s opener. After senior Karlee Manzione gave the Thunderbirds a 1-0 lead with her fourth RBI of the series, the Vikings answered back with four runs on five hits in the bottom of the first and then four more runs on five more hits in the second.
Armed with an 8-1 lead, Viking starting pitcher Emma Detamore cruised through the rest of the game, two-hitting the Thunderbirds. The only other Thunderbird hit was a Megan Reed one-out single to right field in the fourth inning. The Vikings added two more runs in the home half of the fourth to reach the run rule limit and end the game in the fifth inning.
Despite the loss, pitcher Haley Wall had a decent outing in the circle for the Thunderbirds. The junior threw 2.1 innings in relief of starting pitcher Hanna Wynn, only giving up four hits and two runs.
Game Two: SUU 7, PSU 2
In what was a complete turnaround from game one, the Thunderbird bats awoke in the nightcap. Eleven hits combined with a two-hit complete game from starting pitcher Samantha Guile gave Southern Utah a 7-2 win over the Vikings.
Shortstop Kendall Kapitzke opened the scoring in the third inning with her seventh home run of the season, a two-run shot to left center to put the Thunderbirds up 2-0. SUU would score three more runs in the fourth with outfielders Payton Hart and Nicole Simonson picking up big RBI’s. Manzione would make it 6-0 in the fifth with a solo shot to left, her third of the season.
Guile cruised through her first four innings of work, not allowing a hit until the fourth inning when Tayler Gunesch bunted her way on base. She ran into trouble in the fifth when the Vikings used two walks and a triple to score two runs and cut the Thunderbird lead to four. That was all of the damage she would allow however, as she worked her way out of the jam in the fifth and pitched two more innings of no-hit ball to secure the 7-2 win. This was Guile’s first career complete game and the first win of her career.
Every Thunderbird batter in the starting lineup had at least one hit in the series finale. Second baseman Jessie Wilson finished two for four with two doubles and Reed continued her dominant series going two for three in game three. The senior was six for nine in the series with five singles and a double.
The series win puts the Thunderbirds at 5-4 in Big Sky play and 9-20 on the season. They now have sole possession of third place in the Big Sky, behind only Montana and Weber State.
Coming Up Next
The Thunderbirds will return home for a four-game homestand next week. They will host No. 22 BYU on Tuesday April 11th before Idaho State rolls into Cedar City for a three-game series over the weekend.
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