Jessica Shiery hit her team-leading 11th home run in the first game of the doubleheader with UNLV.
May 6, 2006
LAS VEGAS - The University of Utah softball team (34-17 overall, 10-6 Mountain West) dropped two key games to conference rival UNLV tonight, putting the Utes' bid for a first-place league finish in jeopardy.
With Brigham Young sweeping conference leader San Diego State in a doubleheader on Thursday, the Utes needed a pair of wins over UNLV (24-33, 8-10) to maintain second place in the Mountain West. It would have also set Utah up for a stake in the regular season championship as it ventures to San Diego State on Sunday to play a doubleheader with the Aztecs.
However, the Rebels had other plans as they snagged the 10-8 and 6-5 (8) wins over the Utes.
UNLV brandished a high-powered offense in the first game that overpowered the visitors. While Utah held brief leads after the third and fourth innings, UNLV exploded for nine runs in its final three at bats to run away with the victory. Utah countered in each of its last five at bats, but not with the same ferocity.
The Rebels hung four runs on the board in each the third and fourth innings, taking a 9-5 lead into the sixth. Jessica Shiery muscled her team-leading 11th homer over the left-field fence to make it 9-7. Shiery finished 3-for-4 in the game with four RBI. But, the two-run deficit was as close as Utah would get as both team plated a run in each of their last at bats.
The Rebels out-slugged Utah in game one, 15-12.
The second game was nip-and-tuck but UNLV prevailed again when Caitlyn Paus hit a walk-off home run in the eighth inning the secure the doubleheader sweep.
Utah had a 2-1 lead after three innings but it surrendered four runs in the fourth to the home team, conceding a 5-2 lead to UNLV.
The Utes cut the three-run lead to 5-4 in the fifth when Shiery's sacrifice fly to center field scored Meghan Crouse and Devina Quintero's single up the middle plated Jackie Wong. The Utes almost tied it in the same at bat. Sharee Fonoti hit a lazy fly ball to deep left field with Diana Phillips on third. While it was deep enough to score Phillips, she too was called out for leaving early, ending the inning and the rally.
One of the few bright spots was the performance of Phillips and Wong. They extended their impressive hitting streaks to 19 and 18 games, respectively. Phillips finished the day 5-fo-7 at the plate while Wong was 4-for-8.
The Utes return to action on Sunday, May 7, to close out the regular season. They play a doubleheader at San Diego State with first pitch set for 1 p.m. (PDT).