Perfect start to WAC play has softball in first place

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By Alyssa Synakowski, assistant sports editor

Photos by Gabi Campbell

Utah Valley University softball is off to an undefeated start in Western Athletic Conference play, earning 4-1, 9-4 and 4-3 victories against Bakersfield in California.

The Wolverines (10-19, 3-0 WAC) made history with their wins, marking the first conference-opening series sweep in the program history at UVU.

“These were some huge wins for our club today,” head coach Nikki Palmer said. “Starting WAC play undefeated is a big statement for our club, and the girls are really excited about it.”

Utah Valley and New Mexico State (21-15, 3-0 WAC) remain the only two teams still perfect in the WAC.

In the series opener, senior Josi Summers recorded her fourth complete game of the season, and freshman Brittney Vansway went 3-for-3 at the plate, driving in two runs.

Game two was won early with a big offensive showing from sophomore second baseman Dynasty Lauvai. Going into the second inning with the game scoreless, Lauvai drove in UVU’s Kelli Fox and Debra Lovell with her third home run of the season. The Wolverines ended the third inning by adding six more runs to scoreboard en route to a 9-0 lead.

Lauvai finished the game 3-for-3 with four RBI and two runs scored. Fox finished 2-for-2 with an RBI, two runs scored and two walks.

Summers started games two and three as well. Her fifth complete game in the series finale led UVU to the sweep, and she now owns a 2-0, 1.31 ERA record in the WAC.

“Josi was big for us today, and the bats came through in big situations,” Palmer said. “Overall, clutch performances were the difference makers. We executed the things we have been working hard on the past few weeks of practice.”

Vansway and Lauvai walked away from the doubleheader (games two and three) having posted batting averages of .667 and .556 respectively. The pair combined to drive in 10 runs and five RBI apiece.

As the Wolverines begin to click, they are seeing success on and off the field. Summers, in her final season playing softball for UVU, threw the first no-hitter in the program’s Division I history in a 3-0 win over Albany and has since been awarded as a Perry Homes Scholar, posting a 3.76 term GPA in community health.

The Wolverines look to continue their winning streak as they face in-state rivals Utah State in Provo at BYU’s Gail Miller Field on Wednesday, April 2.

The game was originally slated to be played in Logan the day before, but was postponed due to weather complications. UVU softball has now seen nine games either cancelled of postponed in their spring season.

UVU is 0-2 against USU (13-17) this season and looks to avenge its two-game home opening series in mid-March, when Utah State won both contests 4-1 and 8-7. The Aggies have claimed six of its last seven meetings with UVU.

UVU resumes WAC play on Friday, April 4at Seattle U (9-28-1, 0-3 WAC).