Softball Wraps up Regular Season with WAC Win
May 6, 2006
Reno, Nev. - The University of Nevada softball team used a single by freshman Sarah Hunt (Reno, Nev.) in the bottom of the seventh inning to dramatically win its second-straight over Louisiana Tech 5-4 on Saturday at Idlewild Park. With the win, Nevada improves to 28-29 (9-8 WAC) which puts them currently at fourth going into the WAC Tournament this week, while La Tech drops to 18-29 (6-11 WAC).
Without a single error, the Wolf Pack collect 11 hits over the Lady Techsters' 7 with two errors. Louisiana Tech came out strong early, taking a 4-0 lead in the first two innings, but their three runs in the second inning would be the last time across the plate. Nevada scored two runs in the bottom of the second inning, two in the fourth and its final run in the seventh to take the win.
The game was the last home game for Nevada's seven-member senior class, the first true senior class since its rebirth in 2003. All seven got to play as head coach Michelle Gardner made a couple of substitutions in the top of the fifth to get the last couple seniors into the lineup. Senior Candice Rainwater (Dana HIlls, Calif.) was the Pack's winning pitcher improving to 9-8, but it was sophomore Jordan McPherson (Simi Valley, Calif.) who did the majority of the work striking out three in four innings pitched, earning all four runs. Senior Robyn Ford-Feitz (Mission Viejo, Calif.) also made an appearance, with one strikeout in 1.1 innings pitched and three hits but no runs.
With a Louisiana Tech 4-0 lead in the bottom of the second, Nevada began to fight back as it found itself with the bases loaded after its first four batters of the inning. Rainwater led-off the inning with a singled, senior Kari Stockstill (Huntington Beach, Calif.) joined her on base with a single of her own, followed by freshman Katie Stith (Chino Hills, Calif.) who walked. Rainwater was the team's first run off a sacrifice fly out by senior Cindy Elkins (Reno, Nev.). Stockstill then took advantage of an error by the shortstop off a hit by sophomore Tyler Schafer (Star, Idaho) to get the second run of the inning.
In the bottom of the fourth, Schafer again helped get Stockstill over the plate, this time with an RBI single. Stockstill had to use some impressive foot speed to beat out the throw from the centerfielder scoring from second base as the La Tech catcher was unable to field it in time. After Schafer legged out the catcher on the next play to steal second, freshman Kymberly Silagyi (Chino, Calif.) hit her eighth double of the season to score her.
The teams were then deadlocked for two more innings, although La Tech was threatening in the bottom of the fifth. After the Pack's defensive changes which brought in some of the seniors including Ford-Feitz as pitcher, Nevada got two quick outs, but then the Lady Techsters got a runner on with a single. Rochelle Sandberg then stepped up and hit a deep shot that looked like might go over the fence, but came up just short and senior Ashley Ablahani (Las Vegas, Nev.) made an impressive catch at the foot of the left field fence to end the inning.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, the score was still locked at four. Freshman Brittany Puzey (Carson City, Nev.), who had sang the national anthem beautifully prior to the start of the game, led off the inning with a single. After a sacrifice grounder by senior Brittany Lorenzen (Henderson, Nev.) advanced her to second and a passed ball got her to third, Hunt stepped up hitting a perfect single in the infield dirt, just out of the reach of the shortstop.
With the regular season wrapped up, Nevada will play in its first WAC Tournament in this weekend. The tournament which has not been held since the 1999 season, will be hosted by Fresno State at Bulldog Diamond with the double-elimination bracket beginning on Thursday.