Wolverines back to .500 after going 2-0 in doubleheader vs DSU

The Wolverine softball team celebrates the win (Photo courtesy of UVU Athletics).

The Utah Valley softball team picked up two astonishing wins against the Dixie State Trailblazers on Thursday, April 21 at Wolverine Softball Field in Orem, Utah. The wins put UVU up 2-0 in the home series. 

The Wolverines had a back-and-forth game one against the Trailblazers until they rallied for a three-run seventh to take the game 7-6. They continued their momentum into game two where they had an eight-run first inning followed by three two-run innings to throttle the Trailblazers 14-0. The Wolverines are now back at .500 on the season with a record of 18-18 overall and now 9-8 in WAC play, keeping them in third place in the WAC West Division. 

The Wolverines had a terrific hitting day, accumulating 28 hits with a .500 hitting average in the two games along with 21 runs, 18 RBIs, and seven extra-base hits. Madison Carr had six hits, three RBIs, and five runs scored. TicketMaster WAC Hitter of the Week Linnah Rebolledo followed with four hits, three RBIs, two doubles, and three runs scored. Betancur also picked up four hits for the Wolverines with a triple and two RBIs.

The Trailblazers combined for 18 hits in both games with a .367 hitting average with just seven runs, three extra-base hits, and five runners batted in. Kasey Crawford led the way for DSU with four hits and two RBIs followed by Carly Eldredge with three hits and two runs scored. Six Trailblazers had two hits apiece after both games. 

Game one of the doubleheader got off to a fast start for Wolverines’ starting pitcher Katie Zuniga with Trailblazer Shea Clements blasting a two-out double to right-center field to score Carly Eldredge and give DSU an early 1-0 lead. 

The Wolverines quickly responded at the bottom of the first with Trailblazers’ starting pitcher Tyler Denhart walking Madison Carr. Linnah Rebolledo followed with an extra-base hit to right field that also put Madison Carr on third, giving UVU two runners in scoring position. A few batters later, Mikaela Thomson hit a sacrifice liner to right field to score Madison Carr and advance Rebolledo, evening the score 1-1. 

Following a scoreless second by DSU, the Wolverines stayed hot in the bottom of the second with Jaeden Barajas on third and Megan Gibbs on second with just one out. Carr then singled to short to score Barajas and advanced Gibbs to third, giving UVU their first lead 2-1. Carr then went on to steal second which allowed Gibbs to steal home to sneak a 3-1 lead. 

After a scoreless third, The Trailblazers caught fire in the top of the fourth, loading the bases quickly. Kasey Crawford kept things rolling, hitting to right field which forced an error by the Wolverines’ outfield that scored Maile Maletta and Phoebe Schultz while advancing Eldredge to third and Crawford to second, tying the game 3-3. Hannah Hughbanks gave the Trailblazers their fourth hit of the inning to score Eldredge and put Crawford on third while Hughbanks reached second on the throw. Rachel Campbell kept the inning alive with another single to score Crawford and put the Trailblazers up 5-3.

The Wolverines responded in the bottom of the fourth by loading the bases with just just one out. Rebolledo followed with a sacrifice fly to score Peyton Prigge, cutting the lead 5-4. However, the inning would come to a close after a force out on Carr during the play. 

The Trailblazers continued to give Zuniga trouble in the top of the fifth with Oaklee Trapp hitting a leadoff double. Lauren Almeida then sacrificed a lineout that forced an error by the Wolverines’ infield to score Trapp and extend the Trailblazers’ lead 6-4. Zuniga got out of the jam retiring two straight.

After the game went scoreless until the bottom of the seventh, Laynee Betancur started the inning with a triple that dropped inches inside for a fair ball. Carr followed with her first extra-base hit of the year down the infield line for a double that scored Betancur, making the score 6-5. Rebolledo replicated the effort with another double down the opposite infield line that scored Carr, tying the game 6-6. After a few Wolverines striking out, Rylee Thorpe grounded the game-winning hit up the middle to score Rebolledo and help the Wolverines win 7-6. 

Despite the Wolverines getting outhit 14-12 hits by the ‘Blazers, the Wolverines won with seven runs, a .462 hitting average, and six runners batted in while only stranding three runners. Carr and Rebolledo each went 3-3 with two RBIs apiece. Betancur followed going 2-3 and Thomson and Thorpe each had an RBI. 

The Trailblazers had a .438 hitting average, only two batters struck out, and five RBIs to complement their six runs, but left seven runners on base. Five ‘Blazers clocked two hits, including Crawford who also had two RBIs. 

Game two got off to an outstanding start for Wolverines’ starting pitcher Brooke Carter after she held DSU scoreless.

The bottom of the first got off to a great start for the Wolverines after Carr and Rebolledo got into scoring position with no outs following Trailblazer miscues. Kalena Shepherd followed with a single through the right side to score Carr and put Rebolledo on third, giving UVU an early 1-0 lead. After a wild pitch by Trailblazer starting pitcher Attlyn Johnston, Rebolledo was able to score to make the score 2-0 and advance Brynne Hilton (pinch-running for Shepherd) to second. Thomson then lined a double to right field to score Hilton. Barajas reached base on a fielder’s choice and Prigge singled to left-center to score Barajas and put the Wolverines up 4-0. A few at-bats later, Betancur and Carr both singled to score Prigge and Karleigh Olsen, respectively. Rebolledo followed, popping a soft single over first to score Betancur to extend the lead to 7-0. Thomson capped off the inning for the Wolverines, allowing Carr to score run eight for the Wolverines, but the inning would come to a close after a tag out on Shepherd. 

The Wolverines continued the second strongly, putting runners on the corners with just one out. Olsen scored Barajas with a hit to right field, in which she was able to reach second after the throw, putting two Wolverines in scoring position again and going up 9-0. Betancur followed with a sacrifice groundout to score Prigge and take a 10-0 lead. 

The Trailblazers began the third with the bases loaded and just one out. Just as Hughbanks hit what looked to be a sacrifice fly, Wolverines’ left fielder Rebolledo gunned down Laura Lockard before she tagged home, ending the inning and keeping the shutout alive. 

Kalena Shepherd kept the scoring festivities going for the Wolverines in the bottom of the third as she crushed a solo home run to right field to put UVU up 11-0. A few at-bats later, Barajas softly lined another base hit to score Thomson, giving the Wolverines a 12-0 advantage.

With two outs and two runners once again in scoring position for the Wolverines in the bottom of the fourth, Shepherd doubled to right-center to score Rebolledo and Carr, putting UVU up 14-0. 

The rest of the game would then go scoreless to give the Wolverines a perfect 14-0 win in five innings, behind a dominant performance by Brooke Carter and outstanding offense. The Wolverines now lead the season series 3-2.

The Wolverines outhit the Trailblazers 16-4 with a blazing .533 hitting percentage to put up 14 runs and 12 RBIs with no strikeouts. Kalena Shepherd led things for the Wolverines, going 3-3 with 3-3 with a double, home run, and four runners batted in. Carr had three hits again, going 3-4 with one RBI, and increasing her season average to .459. Betancur, Olsen, and Thomson all had two hits while five other Wolverines had one hit.

This is the seventh shutout the Trailblazers suffered this season. The Trailblazers had a .235 hitting average to complement their four hits. Crawford went 2-2, accounting for half the Trailblazer hits.

The Wolverines will now look to sweep the Trailblazers in the series finale on Friday, April 21 at 12 p.m. MT, but is subject to change due to impending weather. The game can be streamed on the WAC Digital Network. 

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