The Southern Utah University Thunderbirds opened up their conference schedule by taking on the University of Texas, Arlington in a three-game series on March 17-18. The Thunderbirds went 1-2 on the weekend, losing their first games on Saturday to the Mavericks 10-3 and 15-10. On Sunday, they came away with a 4-3 win, their first as a member of the Western Athletic Conference. The Thunderbirds now sit at 4-14 on the season.
Freshman Riley Nielson started the game on the mound for the Thunderbirds. On offense, SUU came out hot, scoring twice in the second inning. The Mavericks answered back quickly, however, scoring five runs to open up the third.
The Thunderbirds fired back in the fourth, with junior Allie Laub scoring on a sacrifice fly ball.
After that play, it was the Mavericks’ turn, and they scored five unanswered runs that earned them the 10-3 win. Sophomore Jessica Adams pitched a complete game for the Mavericks, striking out three and giving up one earned run.
Junior Shelby Basso got the go-ahead to start the next game for the Thunderbirds. Batting at the bottom of the first, SUU began the game with a scoring barrage, bringing in three quick runs. UTA battled back, scoring twice over the next two innings.
UTA’s bats got hot quickly in the fourth, opening up the inning with a home run from freshman Marley Neises. The Mavericks didn’t stop there, going on to score three more runs in the inning, making it a 6-3 ballgame.
Going into the bottom of the sixth inning, the Thunderbirds found themselves down 13-5 before going on an offensive tear of their own. They scored four straight runs that were capped off by a home run from freshman Emily Gonzalez, bringing the score to 13-9.
Unfortunately, the Thunderbirds only scored once more, and the Mavericks held on for the 15-10 win.
The Thunderbirds opened the game with sophomore Kiemon Winston on the mound, who gave up three earned runs and four hits to the Mavericks in the opening frame. The opposite was true for SUU, as the only player to reach base in the first inning was junior Allie Laub off a fielding error by the Mavericks.
After two scoreless innings, the Thunderbirds started to gain momentum in the bottom of the third when junior Capri Franzen singled to center field, bringing in junior Miranda Lopez and making the score 3-1, Mavericks’ lead. In the fourth, SUU came storming back, scoring twice and tying the game at 3-3.
The Thunderbirds then took the lead in the bottom of the fifth, scoring off a single from sophomore Jayne Sepulveda. They would hold on for the rest of the game, coming away with a 4-3 win and bringing UTA to a 11-13 record on the season.
The Thunderbirds will go on the road again to face conference opponent Abilene Christian University at Poly Wells Field in Abilene, Texas. For this series, two of the games will be played on Saturday, March 25, at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., with the final game being played on Sunday, March 26, at 11 a.m. All times are listed in MDT.
Story by: Aidan Mortensen
Photos courtesy of SUU Athletics