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Softball wins two of three to start Big Sky play

The Weber State University softball team got two wins in its Big Sky opener over the weekend. The Wildcats had a tripleheader against the University of North Dakota.

In the first game, the Wildcats fell down early, giving up three runs in the first two innings. UND was led by starting pitcher Caralyn Chewning, as she got an RBI double in the first inning and finished 2-3 with one RBI. In the second inning, outfielder Amanda Johnson hit a home run off the pitch from pitcher Kylee Colvin. That ended the scoring for UND.

The Wildcats found their offense in the bottom of the second inning, with junior Desiree Mejia scoring on a fielding error.

Freshman Alyson Kulp kept the scoring going in the third inning, going yard, getting the game to within one run.

The Wildcats took the lead in the fifth inning off of a sacrifice bunt from freshman Rudi Barrios, scoring two on a throwing error.

Barrios added an RBI double in the sixth inning, as the Wildcats scored two and sealed the victory, 7-3.

The Wildcats finished with six hits and three walks. Barrios finished 1-3 with three RBIs, with Kulp going 1-2 with one run scored and two runs batted in.

Colvin pitched a complete game, giving up seven hits. She had one walk and three strikeouts.

In the second game of Friday’s doubleheader, the Wildcats again fell down early, giving up a run in the top of the second with a home run from designated hitter Kenna Olsen.

The Wildcats responded with five runs in the bottom of the second. With the bases loaded, senior London Clarke hit a single down the infield line, scoring two. Junior Brooke Silva then hit a single to right field, scoring another run. Kulp finished off the inning with a double, scoring two. The Wildcats had five runs on five hits.

The Wildcats added another run off of a home run from Mejia in the third inning.

UND made a push in the seventh inning, scoring two runs, but was unable to close the gap. The Wildcats took the game 6-3, despite giving up four errors in the game.

Head coach Tina Johnson said the number of errors for her team is misleading.

“It’s balls being hit into positions where it’s difficult to get the ball,” she said, “and what makes it look like they are errors is that our kids are getting there and getting their glove on it, which we didn’t have that range before. There are balls that are being hit that ‘wow, she makes that, that’s a great play’ versus being an error.”

Clarke finished 2-3 with one run scored and two RBIs. Kulp added two RBIs, going 1-2.

Wildcat pitcher Morgan Allaband pitched a complete game, giving up six hits and one walk. She also had five strikeouts.

On a chilly, snowy Saturday afternoon, the Wildcats finished off their tripleheader with a loss.

UND got up early in the first inning, with a home run to left center off the bat of D. Jantzer.

The Wildcats got on the board in the third inning, with Barrios scoring off of an RBI single from Mejia.

After UND scored two to open up the fourth inning, the Wildcats responded with two runs of their own, with a two-run single from Silva.

The fifth inning was killer on WSU, as it gave up five runs on four hits and three errors. The Wildcats looked poised to score in the bottom of the fifth, but left three on base, as they were not able to score in the inning.

UND scored two in the sixth, and the Wildcats were unable to make the comeback. The Wildcats fell 11-4.

Silva went 2-4 with two RBIs for the Wildcats. Catcher Elizabeth Cudney went 2-4 with one run and one RBI for UND.

“For us, we just didn’t hit the ball when the time was critical,” Johnson said. “We hit the ball, but we hit it right to somebody. We just were not getting the base hits when we need them. Today, North Dakota got those balls to fall. They hit them right where it was tough to make the play.”

This is the first season that the Big Sky Conference has sponsored softball, with WSU formerly having played in the Pacific Coast Softball Conference.

“I think, for us, we want to win every series,” Johnson said, “and since it’s a three-game series this year, we can win the series. We want to sweep the series as well. Our goal is always to go in and take all three games. The worst-case scenario for us is to come out 2-1 and win the series and be ahead of each team that we play. And right now we are ahead of North Dakota, and that’s all that matters after this weekend.”

The Wildcats will next play a doubleheader against the University of Great Falls on Tuesday. The first game will begin at 2 p.m. and the second will start at 4 p.m., both at the Wildcat Softball Field.

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