The Weber State University softball team defeated the University of Utah in its home opener Tuesday afternoon by the score of 13-8. The Wildcats gave up runs early but were able to dig themselves out of the hole in the 10-inning exhibition game.
The Utes came out swinging, driving in three runs in the top of the first inning and two runs in the top of the second.
“For whatever reason, playing at home for the first time in the fall, we had a different feeling than when we were playing on the road last weekend,” said WSU head coach Mary Kay Amicone. “Last weekend, I thought we did some really good things. Then, when we came into the first inning, there was some uncharacteristic nerve. It was good for us to be able to feel it and be able to fix it.”
After a good defensive stand, the Wildcats got on the board in the bottom of the third inning off of a blooper into left field. WSU added another run to cut the lead to three going into the fourth inning, 5-2.
The Utes responded with three runs in the fourth inning, including two runs batted in on a double by pitcher Mariah Ramirez. That brought the score to 8-2.
The Wildcats stormed back in the fifth inning, scoring four runs on five hits, including a two-run double off of the bat of senior Brooke Silva. The score after five innings was 8-6 in favor of the Utes.
“I think it’s just the way we fight as a team,” Silva said. “It’s just the way this team is. We have great chemistry and we fight for each other, not for ourselves. We are about the team, and not me anymore. The chemistry is awesome.”
Wildcat gloves followed suit as the Utes went three up, three down, including two strikeouts for pitcher MaCauley Flint in the top of the sixth inning. The Wildcats held the Utes to three hitless innings in a row from the fifth to the seventh inning.
During the seventh inning, Flint pulled a groin muscle, leaving WSU without an available pitcher to finish the game, as one had class and another had just pitched on Saturday. Amicone asked the Ute coach if one of their pitchers could finish the game.
“Thankfully, we are good friends,” said Amicone of Ute head coach Amy Hogue. “Both teams wanted to play 10 innings because one scrimmage counts as one scrimmage. We had planned ahead to play 10 innings. They wanted to have their three pitchers pitch, and so we just finished the game. In the fall, it’s all about getting better.”
After a pair of scoreless innings, the Wildcats had a chance to do some damage in the eighth. With the bases loaded, however, the Wildcats next had three straight outs, leaving the score at 8-6. The Ute pitcher pitched well against her own team, holding them to just two hits and no runs in three innings.
“In this situation, their pitcher did a good job against them,” Amicone said. “She’s trying to earn her own spot on her own team. But our team treated her just as if she were MaCauley. It’s an awesome thing to see that it doesn’t matter who’s out there. That pitcher felt the influence of our energy.”
The Wildcats ended the scoring drought in the bottom of the ninth inning, as junior Kylee Hogue had a single that drove in a run. She was then driven in by sophomore Rudi Barrios, leveling the game at 8-8.
After a scoreless top of the 10th, the Wildcats took the lead for good, driving in five runs to end the game at 13-8.
“We always are fighting,” Amicone said. “That’s going to be the makeup of this team, that relentless energy and fight to the end. That’s part of what we’ve been preaching and what they’ve been buying. That’s what we’re all about.”
The Wildcats will return to action with another 10-inning exhibition home game against Snow College on Oct. 12 at noon on the Wildcat Softball Field, located near the Dee Events Center.