Softball splits in home opener
A doubleheader against The University of Missouri Kansas City brought Utah Valley University to play on their home field for the first time since the opening of the season in early February. The Wolverines split the doubleheader as their second game resulted in a 10-7 victory following their 8-9 loss.
UVU came into their first contest at home sitting on a five-game winning streak and winning eight of their last nine games. The two-game series put UVU’s record at 19-7-1.
“We started off sluggish in both games but as you can see, [Tiffany] Mills can bring it,” head coach Todd Fairbourne said. “She came in and finished off.”
Mills struggled in the first game and pitched only the last two innings during game two of Wednesday’s doubleheader, but during those two she stopped UMKC with zero hits. Her performance in the second game earned Mills her sixth save on the season, tying her with the nation’s save leader for the season.
“I came back hard in the second game so that made me feel better,” Mills said. “I was nervous. I have never played on this field before.”
Coming into the season, Fairbourne expressed his worries about the thinness of UVU’s pitching staff. Mills was a new transfer while Megan Peay and Josi Summers were recovering from injury. But as both freshmen Cassie Herrera and Peay saw playing time tonight, Fairbourne articulated more confidence into their pitching line-up.
“[Peay] gave us a lot of good innings,” Fairbourne said. “That was good or else we wouldn’t have been able to win that game. Those two have stepped up and done a really good job. Herrera and Peay both have done a great job at solidifying that second spot.”
Fairbourne was sure to not discredit the offense in Wednesday’s doubleheader. He expressed struggles for offense early in the season but said that after working out the kinks of Game one it was nice to see the team’s batting improve.
“Regardless of the first game, they hit the ball well,” Fairbourne said. “It was big. It was nice. I was really happy after as much as we’ve struggled offensively.”
Catcher Deianna Russell provided four RBI’s in the first game while Jamie North hit 3-for-4 with two RBI’s. In the second contest against UMKC Amanda Perez provided two RBI’s off a hit to centerfield while loaded bases. Perez ended the night with three RBI’s hitting 2-for-4 at bat.
Following a doubleheader against Portland State the Wolverines will take on Utah State (9-20) in Orem on Tuesday, April 3.