Weber State softball swept Idaho State out of Ogden after the Wildcats scratched out the Bengals three times in two days with victories by the scores of 8–6, 19–0 and 7–1 in WSU’s first Big Sky softball games in nearly two years.
“It’s great cause the last six weeks, we’ve been traveling all over the place,” Wildcats’ catcher Lauren Hoe said of playing at home. “I think we’re a different, rejuvenated team, and I think we’re known for really stepping it up in conference play.”
It had been nearly two years since Wildcats had played a Big Conference game on the home field — junior third baseman Chloe Camarero walk-off homering in the bottom of the eighth inning for a WSU win.
“It feels so great, and we appreciate the fans, the support and the administration working,” Wildcats’ head coach Mary Kay Amicone said. “They do everything to help us be successful. We love being at home. It’s absolutely fantastic.”
In the first of the two games on March 27, doubleheader sophomore right-hander Mariah Ramirez started for WSU in the circle and pitched 5 1/3 innings, striking out one batter, walking another and giving up three runs.
After a scoreless first inning, Bengal Jillian Martinez scored the game’s first run after four batters hit.
The Wildcats found their drive in the bottom of the second inning when sophomore second baseman Faith Hoe hit a line drive to right field. Hoe raced to home plate for a scored run when Ramirez knocked a RBI triple to right field to tie the game at 1–1.
Wildcat sophomore catcher Lauren Hoe’s RBI double brought in Ramirez for WSU’s second scored run of the inning.
After Ramirez put away three Bengal batters in the top of the third, the Wildcats’ success at the plate continued.
After Camarero reached the base paths on a walk and Wildcat first baseman Ashlyn Visser singled to left field, Faith Hoe stepped in the batter’s box and ripped a shot over the right-center field fence.
The three-run homer gave WSU a 5–1 lead.
The Wildcats fielded a quick three outs and a Camarero double brought an RBI, with freshman Mia Rushton home for a run to extend WSU’s lead to 6–1 heading into the fifth inning.
The Bengals were held scoreless in the bottom of the fifth, and the Wildcats led by Lauren Hoe’s double and Rushton’s triple brought 2 RBI’s, bringing WSU’s lead to 8–1.
Ramirez gave up 3 earned runs but got the win after Wildcat reliever Kate Donaldson’s save in the sixth inning.
Amicone said of the players’ efforts, “Hitting as a team, relentless effort and great energy and our pitchers did amazing; they were fantastic.”
The Wildcats brought the power bats in the second game of the doubleheader.
Camarero’s 3 RBI double and Faith Hoe’s 2 RBI home run over the center-field fence took the Wildcats to a 10–0 lead in the bottom of the second.
Sophomore Katelyn Whiting’s RBI triple in the fourth inning sealed the Wildcats run away in a 19–0 victory, and the game was stopped at the fifth inning because WSU was up by more than eight runs.
“It was great, hitting is contagious when you’re seeing the ball well and you’re working together,” Amicone said. “It’s exactly what we needed to come out and put those runs up.”
The Wildcats took down ISU, 7–1, on March 28, for the three-game sweep behind the pitching of freshman Amanda Sink.
“The whole team was all in. We hit and attacked,” Sink said. “We played solid defense, which really helped me out so I don’t have to throw as many pitches.”
Sink pitched 7 2/3 scoreless innings and struck out six ISU batters.
Sink said her style of play is to attack batters “and if I get ahead, I’ll stay ahead.”
The right-hander was one out away from a shutout when ISU’s Isabel Cargill walked across home plate, scoring a run with the bases loaded.
But the WSU hitting couldn’t be stopped, and the twins out of Walla Walla, Washington broke the game open for the Wildcats.
Faith Hoe bunted to get on base and Lauren Hoe ripped a RBI double to put WSU up 5–0 in the the third inning, and the Wildcats never looked back on the way to victory.
“I think, as a team, we really hit the ball, and that’s going to be a really big thing to happen in the Big Sky because a lot of the teams can hit really well,” Lauren Hoe said. “There’ll be a lot of big scores like the 8–6 game.”
The Weber State softball team’s cleats next touch the diamond at Wildcat Softball Field when the team faces Colorado State in a double header on April 3 and Utah Valley on April 6.