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ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Softball swept by Fresno

By Calvin Makelky
On March 31, 2014

Despite a strong performance on Sunday, the Utah State softball team was swept in its first Mountain West road series by conference power Fresno State.

Game 1: FSU 6 USU 0
Fresno State’s Jill Compton silenced the Aggie bats Friday, throwing a three-hit complete game shutout. After giving up a hit in each of the first three innings, Compton completely shut down USU’s offense the rest of the way.

Sophomore Noelle Johnson’s eight-game win streak was halted as she picked up the loss, bringing her record to 12-9.

Offensively, the three singles by the Aggies came from junior shortstop Jolene Koons, senior second baseman Allison Lenzora, and sophomore outfielder Sarah Chow.

Johnson was knocked around for six earned runs and 12 hits in her six innings of work.

Game 2: FSU 8, USU 0 (5 innings)
The Aggie offense continued its offensive woes against the Bulldogs Saturday.

The Aggies only managed two hits for the game, one from Lenzora and another from freshman third baseman Victoria Saucedo, and the defense committed two errors.

Johnson struggled to clamp down on the hot Fresno offense as she picked up the loss. Johnson allowed seven hits, three earned runs and recorded only one strikeout in four innings.

Freshman pitcher Abby Indreland relieved Johnson to pitch the last inning but allowed two runs in the process which ended the game in the fifth.

Game 3: FSU 4, USU 3
Despite a much improved effort, the Aggies lost a heartbreaker to the Bulldogs on a walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh inning.

The offense finally woke up, hammering out seven hits. Batting leadoff, Koons delivered with two hits, including an RBI triple. Saucedo also had two hits and a RBI.

Sophomore pitcher Mariah Peterson was able to scatter hits throughout Sunday, but failed to stop the Bulldogs from scoring two runs in the seventh. Peterson allowed 11 hits and four runs, three of them earned, over six and a third innings.

The defense struggled once again, committing two costly errors for the second straight game.

"We got punched pretty good the last two games. Today was pretty important to see how they responded," said USU head coach Steve Johnson. "They came back with a lot of fight. They played much better than they had the last two days. When you get in a position to win in the seventh inning in a conference game, that is all that you can ask. That is all a part of the continuing process. I was really proud of the fight today, and that is what we have to take into every game."

The sweep dropped the Aggies to 13-17 overall and 3-3 in conference play. Fresno State improves to 19-12 and 4-2 in the Mountain West.

USU has a busy week with five games, four of which will be held at home. The Aggies open the week at home at 4 p.m.on Tuesday, April 1 against UVU. USU then takes on BYU at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, April 2 in Provo, Utah. The Aggies end the week with a three-game Mountain West series with San Jose State beginning on April 4.
Twitter: @Makelky

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