Wolverines split double-header on first day of Dixie State Tournament

The Wolverines celebrate after a walk-off HR to win the game (Photo courtesy of UVU Athletics).

After being unable to play in the UNLV Desert Classic last weekend due to Covid-19 protocols, the Utah Valley softball team started their first day at the Dixie State Tournament in St. George, Utah, on Friday, Feb. 25, with a heartbreaking 7-8 loss to Weber State, followed by a nine inning thriller of a win beating Nevada 14-13.

The first game of the day against Weber State started well for UVU when Linnah Rebolledo homered to give the Wolverines a 1-0 lead at the end of the first inning. After a scoreless second, the bats heated up for Utah Valley as six Wolverines touched home plate on five hits to improve their lead to 7-0 at the top of the third. Weber State answered back with four runs of their own in the bottom of the fourth to dig into the Utah Valley lead 4-7. The fifth inning came and went without a run, then the pressure mounted as Mariah Ramirez crushed a home run to bring Weber State closer 6-7 in the bottom of the sixth.

UVU was held scoreless at the top of the seventh inning, leading to a critical bottom of the seventh. The inning started off well as the Wolverines struck out a Wildcat, but their luck wouldn’t last long as Chloe Camarero hit the third home run of the game for Weber State to even the score 7-7. Utah Valley proceeded to dig themselves into a hole surrendering a single, walking the next batter, then hitting the third batter with a pitch. With three Wildcats on base, the Wolverines were unable to handle the pressure as they walked the last batter, resulting in a run by Weber State and a heartbreaking 7-8 loss for UVU.

The Wolverines looked to recover in their second game of the day against Nevada. The Wolfpack weren’t going to make it easy for UVU as they scored five runs in the top of the first to take a quick 5-0 lead. Utah Valley would answer as Megan Gibbs’ sacrifice fly sent home Madison Carr, then Rien Milliken hit a single to send home Linnah Robelledo and make the score 2-5 at the end of the first.

Nevada’s Jessica Sellers started off the second inning with a two-run homer that would widen the gap to 7-2 for the Wolfpack. Gibbs would retaliate with a solo home run in the third inning improving the score to 3-7. However, there was no slowing down Nevada as they hit another 2-run bomb in the top of the fifth to amass a 9-3 lead. 

Gibbs refused to give up with a solo homer in the bottom of the fifth inning to narrow the gap to 4-9. UVU continued the momentum in the sixth when three Wolverines got on base leading to a 3 RBI double from Kalena Shepherd, then Milliken sent a ball toward the center field that was dropped by Nevada’s Chelie Senini, allowing Gibbs and Hilton to both score, tying the game at 9-9.

Both teams couldn’t score in the seventh inning, creating a suspenseful scene heading into extra innings. The Wolfpack came into extras swinging, hitting two back-to-back doubles to take an 11-9 lead. All the suspense fell onto Utah Valley going into the bottom of the eighth when Mikaela Thomson’s sac fly sent Rebolledo home. She was followed by a double from Milliken that allowed Victoria Vasquez to score, tying the game 11-11. After the incredible effort, a groundout by UVU sent the game into the ninth inning.

Nevada kept their foot on the gas scoring another two runs at the top of the ninth to create another two-run deficit for the Wolverines. With two runners on base, Carr singled, scoring Laynee Betancur from third. Then, Rebolledo would follow with another single sending Kyla Hardy home to tie the game 13-13. Aubree Hogan walked to load the bases, then Mikaela Thomson sent a ball through the gap in right field, directing Carr home on a walk-off to win the game 14-13 in a nine inning shootout.

The Wolverines finished day one of the Dixie State Tournament 1-1 (3-4 overall) after a heartbreaking loss and a thriller of a win. They will play Saturday, Feb. 26, against Nevada and Winthrop for day two. The games will begin at 12:30 p.m. MT and 3 p.m. MT respectively and can be streamed on the WAC Digital Network.

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