OGDEN – When senior first baseman Sara Hingsberger wraps up her playing career with the Wildcats in a few weeks, you can bet the Thunderbirds will breathe a sigh of relief.
For the second straight season, Hingsberger proved to be a nightmare for the Southern Utah pitching staff as she keyed Weber State University softball team to a 3-0 win on Sunday afternoon, wrapping up a three-game series sweep at Wildcat Softball Complex.
“Personally, at the plate, my approach hasn't changed,” Hingsberger said. “I just hit to the situation, and focus on putting a good swing on it.
“As a team, we are getting better and better every game we play. Our offense is hitting as a team, moving the runners and scoring them. We're playing free out there, and just enjoying every second of it. We're fighting our way through pitch-by-pitch, and focusing on the now, rather than the future.”
Hingsberger, who launched four home runs and had 13 RBI in a two-game series sweep of the Thunderbirds in Cedar City last year, was 7-for-10 with five runs scored and three RBI in three games this year, including a two-run home run in the first inning of Sunday's win. It was her sixth career home run against Southern Utah, and 33rd of her career overall.
“I'm very happy with the progress we're making,” Weber State coach Mary Kay Amicone said. “Our pitching and defense were outstanding, and throughout this series we had everyone contribute.
“We will continue to play hard, and appreciate the fans coming out to help and support us.”
Weber State improved to 14-3 in Big Sky Conference action with the win, and combined with Montana's 5-3 setback to Idaho State, the Wildcats moved within one win of their second consecutive regular season Big Sky Conference title. Weber State and Montana (13-5 Big Sky, 30-21 overall) will meet for a three-game series on Friday and Saturday at Wildcat Softball Complex to decide the title and hosting rights for the Big Sky Conference postseason tournament on May 11-13. WSU improved to 30-14-1 overall, the third straight season that Weber State has won 30 games under Amicone.
Freshman right fielder Takesha Saltern led off the first inning with a single, and crossed the plate when Hingsberger powered a 1-1 pitch well over the 225-foot center field fence to give Weber State a 2-0 lead.
Hingsberger smacked a 1-0 double to right field in the third, and then scored on senior catcher Riana Splinter's RBI single to center field to make it 3-0, and the Wildcat defense took things from there.
Sophomore right-hander Tatiana Su'esu'e picked up her second win of the series, and 13th of the season, allowing just four hits and one walk with three strikeouts. Junior right-hander Kirtlyn Bohling had her fifth save of the year, needing just 21 pitches to get the final nine outs of the game.
Weber State will briefly step out of conference action on Wednesday, taking a quick trip south to face in-state rival Utah Valley at 1:30 p.m. in Orem, Utah, before returning home to face the Montana. First pitch against the Grizzlies is set for 2 p.m. on Friday.