The Thunderbird softball team traveled to the University of California Riverside to compete in the Highlander Classic for their final preseason contests. The Thunderbirds came home Sunday with three victories and their third win this season over a power five opponent.
The Thunderbirds played five contests against the University of California Riverside Highlanders, Michigan State Spartans, California Baptist University Lancers and twice against California State University Bakersfield Roadrunners.
On Friday the T-Birds started the weekend on a good note against CSU Bakersfield where they scored first in the second inning. They scored three more runs in the fourth and later added four more to win the game 8-4, giving the T-Birds their third win of the season.
Koryne Coddington was in the circle and earned her third win of the season for the T-Birds.
On Saturday, March 7, the Thunderbirds played their fourth contest against a power five university this season, this time against the Michigan State Spartans. The Spartans struck early in the first inning, scoring four runs.
The Thunderbirds held them to one run in the fourth, and the T-Birds then racked up a late rally as they scored in the fifth inning with two runs. Going into the sixth inning the T-Birds were down 8-2.
A few base hits and a couple of walks loaded the bases for senior Mikelle Magalogo and she hit a grandslam to give the Thunderbirds a 9-8 lead going into the top of the seventh inning. The Thunderbirds topped off the game with a three-run homerun from Makall Whetten and another homerun, this time a solo shot, from Magalogo.
This gave the T-Birds their third power five victory of the season and their second BIG 10 win of the year, defeating the Spartans 15-8.
The T-Birds third victory of the weekend took place Sunday morning in a rematch with the Roadrunners, this time on a walk-off victory.
Over the course of the first four innings the Roadrunners took a 7-2 lead against the T-Birds. The T-Birds trailed 9-2 going into the bottom of the sixth inning where they were able to put together a six run inning. Brooke Brown hit an RBI triple and Whetten hit an RBI double.
Grace Owen took the circle for the T-Birds, holding the Roadrunners to a one run lead going into the bottom of the seventh inning.
The Roadrunners retired the first two batters of the inning and Dream Weaver hit a double with two outs to get a baserunner for the T-Birds. Michelle Andersen pinch-ran for Weaver as Hannah Pace came up to bat and tied the game with a RBI double that scored Andersen from second.
Skyler Ball then came up and hit the walk-off single to score Pace from second, giving the T-Birds their fifth victory of the season, 9-8 against the Roadrunners.
The Thunderbirds also dropped two games this weekend against Cal State Bakersfield 5-2 and the UC Riverside 9-8.
“Our team has made tremendous growth this year and I’m looking forward to Big Sky play next week,” said junior catcher Makenzie Ball. “The atmosphere has been amazing and I can’t wait to see where the future of this program goes.”
The Thunderbirds will be on the road as they take on Northern Colorado for their first Big Sky Conference contests March 20-21.
Story by: Skyler Ball
Photo courtesy of SUU Athletics