Utah 3, #5 UW 2 (9)

Huskies lose game two

SEATTLE - Sammy Cordova pitched four and two thirds innings of scoreless relief and Utah scored two runs late to beat fifth ranked Washington 3-2 in nine innings in the second game of the three game Pac-12 series at Husky Softball Stadium on a cloudy Saturday afternoon.

Cordova (4-1) got entrusted by head coach Amy Hogue with keeping the hot hitting Huskies (1-1 Pac-12, 20-5) in check after inheriting a jam from starter Kayce Nieto with two Huskies on base and only one out in the bottom of the fifth. She only had to face the Huskies' leading power source, Kylee Lahners (10 home runs, 34 runs batted in) and Kaitlin Inglesby, who homered earlier in the game. She struck out Lahners swinging on a 3-2 pitch and got Inglesby to pop up to third to end the inning.

In the sixth, the Huskies had another shot to get to Cordova and build on a 2-1 lead when they loaded the bases on a walk to Whitney Jones and singles by Dani Braun and Victoria Hayward, but she struck out Ali Aguilar looking to end the threat.

Down to their final three outs, the Utes tied the game against starter Inglesby. Leadoff batter Chalese Hadley grounded a single to left. Two fielder's choice putouts later the Utes still had just one runner, Kate Dickman, on at first. Anissa Urtez grounded a single to center to extend the game for the next batter, Marisa Mendenhall, who followed with another single to center. Hogue waived Dickman around third but Victoria Hayward fielded the ball and fired a perfect strike home that would have nailed the runner at the plate.

Unfortunately for the Huskies and the home crowd, the ball bounced in and out of the glove of Courtney Gano, allowing Dickman to score the tying run.

Utah then had a chance to take a 3-2 lead when the next batter, Bridget Castro singled to left but Whitney Jones threw Urtez out at the plate to preserve the tie.

The Huskies had an opportunity to win the game in the bottom of the seventh when they had two runners aboard on a single by Hooch Fagaly and an intentional walk to Inglesby, but Jones lined into an center field-second base double play to send the game into extra innings, the first of the season for both teams.

After both teams went in order in the eighth, Utah scored the game winning run in the top of the ninth against reliever Bryana Walker (12-3). Hadley led off with a walk and advanced to second when a pickoff throw by Gano went into right field for an error. A sacrifice by Hannah Flippen moved Hadley to third and she scored on a sacrifice fly deep to center by Dickman.

In the last of the ninth the Huskies got the tying run aboard when the first batter, Hayward, reached on an error by Cordova, but the Utah pitcher atoned for her error one batter later when she snared a line drive back to the circle by Aguilar and threw to first to double up Hayward.

Suguro then came up to the plate and flied out to center to give the Utes (1-1, 10-9) their first road win ever against a ranked Pac-12 opponent.

Utah opened the scoring in the top of the second and went up 1-0 when Flippen lined a two out bases loaded single to right to score Kristen Stewart. The Huskies answered in the bottom of the inning for a 2-1 lead. Inglesby led off with a solo homer, her fourth of the season, just over the wall in dead center field. One out later, Marki Creger-Zier lined a single to right, took second on a groundout, stole third and scored on a base hit by Jennie McNeill.

In the circle, the winner Cordova gave up three hits while walking one and striking out three. Walker suffered the tough luck loss, giving up one unearned run in two innings despite not allowing a hit. She walked one and struck out one. For the starters, Washington's Inglesby went seven innings, giving up two runs, one earned, on 10 hits while walking three and striking out four. For the Utes, Nieto lasted just four and a thirds innings, allowing two runs, both earned, on six hits while walking two and striking out one

The two teams conclude the series at Husky Softball Stadium on Sunday at 12:00 noon. Then the Huskies welcome traditional Pac-12 power UCLA to Husky Softball Stadium for a three game series Saturday, March 22 through Monday, March 24.

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