WSU softball gets 3 wins to start season

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(Photo by Lauren Crest)
Weber State University junior MaCauley Flint pitches the ball in a game earlier this season. Flint pitched 20 strikeouts in 13 innings over the weekend.

The Weber State University softball team was busy over the weekend, playing five games in just three days at the Red Desert Classic in St. George, Utah.

The Wildcats defeated Brigham Young University on Thursday, then dropped two on Friday to the University of Texas at Arlington and the University of Nebraska Omaha. The Wildcats then went on to get wins over Grand Canyon University and Utah Valley University on Saturday.

“I love that our team is buying into the process,” said WSU head coach Mary Kay Amicone. “They were ready to go, and we feel like there is a lot of potential. It’s a great way to start the year, but it’s not the finish line.”

WSU’s first game against BYU came down to the wire as the Wildcats came from behind to win the game, their first win against the Cougars since 1983.

The Wildcats gave up a run in the first inning. In the fourth inning, the Wildcats gave up two hits and had an error that allowed the Cougars to take a 3-0 lead.

The Wildcats bounced back with a run in the top of the fifth inning. WSU then had two runners on base in the top of the sixth when sophomore Alyson Kulp took a low pitch deep and over the left-field fence to give the Wildcats the lead for good at 4-3.

“It was inside and down low,” Kulp said. “Honestly, all that was going through my head was that I needed to get a base hit, and I did more than that.”

After a shaky start from the Wildcats, pitcher Kylee Colvin helped WSU bounce back. She held BYU hitless in her final two innings on the mound.

“I had to slow everything down,” Colvin said. “I wanted to keep the ball down to make sure my fielders were fielding everything. I couldn’t get my head too caught up in being down early; I had to keep with basics. You’ve gotta keep the game slow and just keep spinning the ball in there.”

Against UTA, the Wildcats found themselves in a pitchers’ duel. Neither team was able to string together any runs in the first seven innings, leading to extra innings. In the top of the eighth, the Mavericks had three runs on two hits and an error. The Wildcats had one run in the bottom of the eighth, but that was all they could muster, falling 3-1.

WSU pitcher MaCauley Flint had a solid game, holding UTA to no hits in the first five innings. She finished with nine strikeouts, but in the eighth inning, the Mavericks caught up to her and pulled ahead.

“MaCauley pitched really well for us; we just didn’t string our hits together,” Amicone said. “It’s a process. We did some things better, but we have to execute better than we did. I really liked the energy.”

The Wildcats then lost to UNO 7-0, putting together just two hits and striking out nine times.

The Wildcat bats heated up on Saturday. Against GCU, WSU had five runs on six hits. After going up 2-0 early in the game, WSU gave up two runs in the top of the sixth. The Wildcats answered right back with a three-run bottom of the sixth inning. Both senior Jasmine Ioane and junior Mylee Davis hit home runs to give WSU a 5-2 win.

The Wildcats exploded in their final game. They scored eight runs on 12 hits against in-state rival UVU. Flint had another impressive outing, striking out 11 batters and giving up just four hits in a complete game.

The game was tied at zero in the fourth inning before WSU sophomore Krystin Kubo came in to pinch-hit. With the bases loaded, Kubo smacked a pitch over the fence, giving her a grand slam. The Wildcats added one more run in the fourth, one in the sixth and two in the seventh to get the 8-0 win.

“I’m really encouraged with the depth of our lineup,” Amicone said. “(Kubo) was ready for her opportunity, and she wasn’t the only one. (Her grand slam) was a huge momentum swing for us. Everybody was ready to step up when we needed them to.”

The Wildcats have another five-game weekend ahead of them as they travel to Las Cruces, N.M., for games Friday, Saturday and Sunday.