Wolverines pick up their first Trailblazer Tournament win in Saturday doubleheader

Reading Time: 5 minutes The Wolverines ended a three-game and picked up their first win of the weekend at the Trailblazer Tournament after going 1-1 in their doubleheader with the UNLV Rebels and Portland State Vikings on Saturday.

Reading Time: 5 minutes

The Utah Valley University women’s softball team (6-12) picked up their first win at the Trailblazer Tournament on Saturday after going 1-1 in a doubleheader against the University of Nevada – Las Vegas Rebels (12-6) and the Portland State University Vikings (6-12) in St. George, Utah.

UVU lost its first game of the doubleheader against UNLV 10-3 and then responded with an 11-7 victory over PSU.

The Rebels came in like an avalanche against the Wolverines, scoring five runs in the second inning before piling on one extra in the third to go up 6-0. UVU was able to get on the board in the fourth inning to make the score 6-1, but UNLV scored a run in both the fourth and fifth inning to go up 8-1. 

The Wolverines were able to score again in the sixth inning with a two-run home run by Megan Gibbs to cut the deficit to 8-3. However, the Rebels responded with a two-run homer at the bottom of the frame and then held on to win 10-3.

The second game of the Wolverines’ doubleheader also started with scoring in the second inning after PSU went up 2-0. UVU instantaneously responded furiously with an eight-run inning to go up 8-2. 

The Vikings were able to respond with a four-run inning to cut the deficit to 8-6 before the Wolverines answered with a run in the third and fourth inning to extend their lead back out to 10-6. Both teams then homered to close out the game with a score of 11-7 as the Wolverines attained revenge on the Vikings after a 5-2 defeat earlier in the tournament on Friday afternoon.

During game one, the Wolverines batted at a .222 hitting percentage, scoring all three of their runs on a hit and hitting the ball six times. The Wolverines also walked three times. 

Gibbs came up big for the Wolverines, registering two hits, including a home run, that scored all three of the Wolverines’ runs. Three other Wolverines registered a hit as well.

Pitcher Brooke Saili (4-5) got the starting nod for the Wolverines but was pulled after pitching 1.1 innings. She allowed five earned runs, two hits, and three walks but was able to force two flyouts and two groundouts.

Katie Zuniga came in relief for Saili, pitching the following four innings for the Wolverines. Zuniga gave up seven hits and five runs but was able to force three strikeouts and seven flyouts for the Wolverines. 

Jorja Barrett pitched the last two-thirds of an inning for the Wolverines, forcing a strikeout and groundout. 

The Wolverines’ bats were hot in the second game as the Wolverines batted at a .400 hitting percentage, registering 12 hits, 10 RBIs, and five batters walked en route to scoring 11 runs. The Wolverines also only struck out twice.

Gibbs continued her monster day in the second game, hitting the ball three times (including two doubles), clocking two RBIs, and scoring one of the Wolverines’ runs. Payge Armendariz followed with two hits, three RBIs, and one run scored. Angelique Mann also had a big game, going 2-for-4 from the plate with an RBI while also scoring two runs and stealing a base. 

Rylee Thorpe hammered a two-run home run blast for UVU and Libbie Hawker also had a multi-RBI game with a double RBI hit and scored a run. Danyé Albritton also recorded a hit for the Wolverines.

Saili once again got the starting pitching role. However, through her two innings pitched, she surrendered five earned runs, six hits, and one walk. Though, she had five flyouts and one strikeout. 

Zuniga (2-7) came in relief for Saili once again and picked up the win for the UVU. Through the final five innings pitched, Zuniga only allowed two earned runs, three hits, and one walk. She forced four strikeouts, six flyouts, and five groundouts en route to helping the Wolverines stave off the Vikings. 

Game one at Bloomington Park didn’t go in favor of the Wolverines after the Rebels scored six total runs following a five-run second inning and a one-run third inning to go up 6-0 early. UNLV had seven hits in those innings as well. 

Gibbs was able to help facilitate the Wolverines’ response in the third inning by rifling a single to center field which scored Jaeden Barajas to put the Wolverines on the board 6-1.

The Rebels once again scored in consecutive innings in response to the Wolverines, getting one run apiece in innings four and five to extend their lead to 8-1.

Gibbs subsequently kept the Wolverines in the chase to come back into the game with a two-run home run out to right field that scored Kassidy Stiles and herself to make the score 8-3.

However, Hailey Schmaltz left no room for a Wolverines’ comeback after crushing a two-run blast of her own at the bottom of the frame to score Alexys Herrera and herself to put UNLV up 10-3.

The Rebels then staved off the Wolverines to pull out the 10-3 victory.

The second game of the day at Karl Brooks Field threatened to yield the same result as the Wolverines-Rebels game early on after the Vikings scored two runs at the top of the second inning to take a 2-0 lead.

However, the Wolverines weren’t having any of it as they erupted at the bottom of the frame. After the bases were loaded for UVU with no outs, Mann was able to score Mya Higareda with an RBI single to cut the deficit to 2-1. Armendariz followed with a double RBI single to score Thorpe and Gibbs to help UVU go up 3-2. 

Britney Moreno kept things rolling by hitting a line-drive double out to center field to score Mann and extend The Wolverines’ lead out to 4-2. Hawker then grounded a single through the left side to Armendariz and Moreno to put the Wolverines up 6-2.

Following an infield miscue and passed ball, Hawker was able to reach home and help give UVU a 7-2 edge over PSU. However, the inning wasn’t over as Gibbs was able to score Kalena Shepherd off an RBI double to give the Wolverines an 8-2 advantage.

The Vikings answered with a four-run inning at the top of the third inning, with three of their runs coming from two home runs, to cut the deficit down to 8-6. PSU also registered five hits total in the inning.

Armendariz helped the Wolverines respond at the bottom of the third inning, hitting a double down the right-field line to score Mann and help UVU go up 9-6.

Gibbs helped extend the Wolverines’ lead at the bottom of the fourth inning after launching a looper out to right-center field to score Barajas and give the Wolverines a 10-6 cushion.

Paetynn Lopez helped the Vikings get back within three after hitting a towering homer out to left-center field, cutting PSU’s deficit to 10-7.

Thorpe then helped the Wolverines seal the deal at the bottom of the sixth inning with a home run of her own, extending the Wolverines’ lead out to 11-7. 

Zuniga was then able to give UVU a strong finish in the seventh inning to give the Wolverines their first win at the Trailblazer Tournament and end a three-game skid. 

The Wolverines also conclude their regular season series against the Vikings 2-1. 

UVU now looks to create more momentum against the Idaho State University Bengals (5-10) on Sunday, March 5, in their final game at the Trailblazer Tournament. The game will start at 12:30 p.m. MT.

Be sure to tune into UVUReview.com for updates and news.