OGDEN, Utah – Riding the wave of a pair of monster innings, the Wildcats’ homecoming was a happy one.
Behind 17 combined hits, the Weber State University softball team swept past in-state rival Utah Valley on Wednesday afternoon, taking both ends of a doubleheader at Wildcat Softball Complex as the Wildcats captured a thrilling 5-4 victory in the opening game and then exploded for a run-rule walkoff in a 12-4 decision to end the day.
Junior centerfielder Malia Campos – the Wildcats’ leadoff hitter – was 4-for-8 with three runs scored, while sophomore third baseman Alyson Kulp was 3-for-7 with two RBI as Weber State opened the home portion of its 2014 schedule after facing the first 25 games of the season on the road.
With the two victories, Weber State improves to 17-10 overall heading into its Big Sky Conference opener on Friday at Southern Utah.
“We are so proud of the way our team fights for each other and until the game is over,” Weber State coach Mary Kay Amicone said. “We are never out of the fight. That was a great comeback in game one.”
In the opening game, the Wildcats fell behind on the first batter has UVU’s Dynasty Lauvai send her third pitch over the fence at left center for a 1-0 lead.
Campos tied the game at 1-1 in the fourth inning, scoring from third base on a wild pitch, but the Wolverines regained the lead in the top of the sixth after loading the bases with three straight walks against junior right-hander MaCauley Flint, who had allowed just four hits and had eight strikeouts without a walk prior to that.
"I love how we can be down in the game, and I have absolutely no worries or anything about it," Campos said. "We have that fire to come back and trust our swings and trust each other. I'm really proud with how we're working together as a defense and offense, and getting some solid wins."
Senior right-hander Kylee Colvin relieved Flint and quickly helped get the second out, before surrendering a single down the left field line that scored two runs. A fly out to center field got the final out of the inning, leaving a pair of Wolverines on.
Lavuvai hit her second home run in the seventh to put Utah Valley ahead 4-1, but the Wildcats weren’t quite done yet.
Freshman second baseman Mackenzi Corta reached to second base on a throwing error by Utah Valley pitcher Dara Rahm, moving Barrios to third.
Barrios scored the tying run on a wild pitch with one out to complete the comeback, and Kulp hit a deep single to right field to score Corta and end the game.
“Janel had a clutch two RBI pinch hit, and Aly Kulp battled to have a great game-winning hit,” Amicone said. “I love our depth throughout our lineup.”
In the second game, the Wolverines charged out the gate, taking a 4-0 lead before senior right-hander/designated player Jasmine Ioane came on in relief and settled the inning.
Weber State came right back as Campos singled to right field and then stole second, with Ioane smashing the ball over the center field fence to make it 4-2.
“I really loved the way we bounced back with two runs after giving up four early,” Amicone said. “We knew that we could scratch back a couple of runs to tie it.”
Kubo doubled to lead off the second inning, and then scored on a dropped third strike after Utah Valley’s catcher overthrew first base to make it 4-3.
After holding each other scoreless for the next two innings, Kulp scored on a passed ball to make it 4-4 in the fifth.
Weber State forced three quick outs in the top of the sixth, and then erupted with seven hits – including a three-run homer from Davis – to score eight runs, ending the game on run-rule after Barrios doubled down the right field like to score Kubo, pushing the required number of runs across the plate.
“The sixth inning was just a great display of hitting together as a team,” Amicone said. “Jasmine threw a tremendous game.”
Ioane (4-1) earned the win on the mound, giving up just three hits – and only two after the first inning – with no runs allowed over the final six innings.