Wolverines unable to overcome Utes’ late four-run rally, lose 4-2

Rylee Thorpe squares up at the plate (Photo courtesy of UVU Athletics).

The Utah Valley softball team lost in a 4-2 stunner to the Utah University Utes on Monday, April 25 at Dumke Softball Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah. After a defensive start to the game, the Wolverines were able to get on the board first with a two-run fourth inning. However, the Utes got hot in the sixth to score four runs and held on to win the game. The Wolverines now drop to 18-20 on the season and 5-13 on the road. 

The Wolverines were held to an even .250 hitting percentage with six hits, two runners batted in, and two extra-base hits. Rylee Thorpe led the Wolverines in hitting with two hits, two RBIs, one home run, and one run scored. Followed by Thorpe, four Wolverines had one hit each. 

Wolverines’ starting pitcher Brooke Carter, outside of the four earned runs, had a great game, not allowing a run until the sixth with 10 foul outs, three groundouts, and two strikeouts through 80 pitches. However, she was given the loss. Katie Zuniga came in relief for one-third of the sixth inning to get one foul out. 

The Utes had a .333 hitting average with eight hits (half in the sixth inning), four RBIs, and three extra-base hits (two of which were home runs). All eight hits come from eight different batters and all four runs were scored by different runners. However, both Destiny White and Julia Jimenez had two RBIs as well as each having a home run. 

Utes’ starting pitcher Mariah Lopez pitched four innings with two earned runs, three strikeouts, six groundouts, and one foul out through 41 pitches. Utes’ reliever Shi Smith had a terrific outing, pitching the final three innings, clocking five strikeouts, one foul out, and one groundout through 45 pitches while picking up the win. 

The Wolverines were able to get at least one hit in each of the first three innings, including two on base in the second inning, but were unable to cash in as Utes’ starting pitcher Mariah Lopez stayed dominant in the innings. 

Wolverines’ starting pitcher Brooke Carter also had an excellent start to the game, only allowing one hit in the first three innings. 

The Wolverines finally got clicking in the top of the fourth inning, with Kalena Shepherd (later pinch-ran by Brynne Hilton) hitting a leadoff double out to left field. A few at-bats later, Rylee Thorpe crushed a two-run shot out to left field, scoring Hilton and herself to give the Wolverines a 2-0 lead. 

After another fantastic fourth inning by Carter, The Utes attempted to respond in the bottom of the fifth with Destiny White and MK Gomez in scoring position for the Utes. However, Carter escaped the jam by striking out Elicia Espinosa. 

The Utes got started in the sixth inning with a leadoff single by Jordyn Gasper. A few at-bats later, Julia Jimenez crushed a home run out to left field to score Gasper and her to even the score 2-2. Halle Morris kept the bats hot with another base hit up the middle. White followed by hammering a long ball to left field to put the Utes up 4-2.

Utes’ reliever Shi Smith held the Wolverines at bay, retiring the batters in order to close the game. 

The Wolverines now, unfortunately, drop to a 3-8 record against in-state opponents, with all three wins coming against WAC West Division rival the Dixie State Trailblazers. 

The Wolverines now come home to Wolverine Softball Field in Orem, Utah for a one-game homestand against the Utah State Aggies on Wednesday, April 27 at 2 p.m. MDT. The match can be streamed through the WAC Digital Network. The Wolverines will then travel to Seattle, Washington to take on the Seattle Redhawks on the weekend of April 29-30.

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