The Utah Valley softball team kicked off their 2020 season this weekend by playing four games in the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The Wolverines began play on Thursday, Feb. 6 with a doubleheader against George Washington and Oregon, before facing Nevada on Friday, Feb. 7 and Long Beach State on Saturday, Feb. 8. Their only loss came in an 8-0 decision against UO on Thursday night, but won each of their other three games.
Senior pitcher Devyn Cretz started the first game for the Wolverines on Thursday afternoon and pitched a complete game against GWU. She recorded four strikeouts and gave up only one run through five innings pitched. All but two of UVU’s batters recorded at least one hit — freshman designated hitter Jaeden Barajas went 2-of-3 with two RBIs in to lead the Wolverines to a 9-1 victory.
Against UO later that night, UVU struggled to get on base — sophomore center fielder Abby Doughty provided the only base hit for the team. A pair of fielding errors by the Wolverines proved costly, allowing four runs to score. Freshman pitcher Katie Zuniga threw 4.1 innings and struck out three batters.
The Wolverines fell behind early against UN on Friday, trailing 3-0 entering the fifth inning. Doughty and sophomore outfielder Peyton Prigge — who started the game at first base — helped lead UVU’s comeback effort, hitting 3-for-3 and 2-for-3, respectively. Zuniga pitched 3.1 innings in relief and allowed no runs, helping the Wolverines win 5-3 after a four-run sixth inning.
Dominant pitching was key for UVU again on Saturday as they beat LBSU 3-2. Sophomore pitcher Brooke Carter got the win, allowing two runs across five innings. Cretz finished the game on the mound for UVU and recorded her second save of the season. All of UVU’s runs came in the third inning — two on a single by senior catcher Basia Query and one on a groundout by Doughty.
Of the seven teams in the tournament field, UVU’s 3-1 record is good for the third-best, behind Oregon and Oklahoma. The Wolverines will need to find more consistency on offense if they hope to continue with a winning record, but their strong showing in Puerto Vallarta leaves room for optimism.
The Wolverines will participate in the UNLV Tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada next weekend with scheduled games against Weber State, Montana and UNLV. They face WSU to open the tournament on Friday, Feb. 14 at 11 a.m. MST.
Photo courtesy of UVU Athletics