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The Weber State University softball team fell to 0-9 with three losses at the Amy S. Harrison Classic held at the University of California, Riverside over the weekend.
Head coach Tina Johnson said that, despite the rough start to the weekend, the team is still optimistic about the rest of the season and is looking forward to getting its first win of the year.
“We don’t feel discouraged about the games this weekend,” Johnson said. “We’re disappointed that we weren’t consistent enough to get that first win.”
The Wildcats opened up the tournament against Boise State University on Friday and suffered their worst defeat of the year, losing 10-1 in five innings. Later the same day, WSU fell to the University of San Diego 2-0. Stephanie Mathias led WSU on Friday, getting two hits on the day.
Alyson Kulp also had a good day for WSU. While only recording one hit, she reached base four times in seven at-bats in the two games. Kulp also recorded an RBI in the game against BSU.
The Broncos blew WSU out of the water with a five-run second inning, then quickly added four more runs in the third and fifth innings.
Johnson said one thing the team needs to work on is playing better defense.
“We need the rookies to step up defensively,” Johnson said. “Right now they are learning about controlling the speed of the game. They make adjustments well, but they also need to relax and just take what the game gives them.”
WSU kept the score much closer in its second game of the day. The Wildcats fell behind 1-0 in the first inning, but kept the game interesting. WSU’s Morgan Allaband recorded six strikeouts and pitched a complete game for the Wildcats.
The next day, WSU took on tournament host UCR. The Wildcats took an early lead against the Highlanders, but couldn’t hold on and fell 4-3. Janel Cunningham was 2-3 from the plate with two RBIs. Mathias and Kulp also helped WSU at the plate with two hits each. The Wildcats batted well as a team, racking up eight hits in the loss.
UCR took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the third inning, then extended its lead to 4-2 in the fifth inning. WSU looked poised to take the lead in the sixth inning with the bases loaded and no outs. The Wildcat offense stalled, however, after scoring one run. WSU left eight runners on base and had four runners in scoring position in the game.
The Wildcats finished up the tournament on Sunday, once again taking on UCR. WSU built a 5-0 lead, but the Highlanders came up with a big rally in the final two innings to take a 7-5 win. UCR’s Ashley Ercolano hit a three-run, two-out home run late in the game.
WSU had its best game at the plate with a season-high 10 hits. Brooke Silva, Jazmine Thompson, Kulp and Cunningham all finished the game with two hits. Silva had a double and Thompson recorded an RBI triple.
While the team batted well, leaving 10 runners on base hurt WSU. Kulp once again had a good game from the plate. She had a two-RBI single to give the Wildcats an early 3-0 lead.
It looked as if WSU could close the door in the fourth inning. The bases were loaded and there were no outs. UCR quickly got out the next three batters, though, escaping unharmed.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Highlanders’ bats came alive, racking up five hits, including Ercolano’s walk-off home run over the left-field wall.
Johnson said the team’s main focus will be the conference games. She said she hopes the team will have worked out the kinks by the time the conference games come around.
“It would be great to keep improving and get 5-8 wins (more than last year),” Johnson said. “We want those wins during conference so that we secure a playoff spot.”
The Wildcats will now travel to Las Vegas, Nev., where they’ll take on DePaul University; the University of Nevada, Las Vegas; California State University, Northridge, and New Mexico State University.