Weber State Softball Hillenbrand Invitational Recap

Weber State Softball Hillenbrand Invitational Recap

by Zachary Knecht

Featured Image: Photo by Weber State Athletics

Weber State Hillenbrand Invitational Recap

It was a rough trip to Tucson for the Weber State Wildcats as they got swept in their five games at the Hillenbrand Invitational. It wasn’t a pretty weekend for WSU, with their losing streak extending to six games.

The Wildcats dropped to 5-14 in the early season and showed precious little against top-notch opponents. Their hitting was left looking like a shell of its usual self, and the pitching couldn’t get the job done like they had to this point.

Tournament Opponents

The weekend gave Weber State five matchups against non-conference foes. The Wildcats battled against Nebraska, #18 Arizona, CSUN – Nebraska again – and Texas A&M – Commerce. For a WSU roster that seemed to be finding its groove, the stature of their competition got the better of them, but they hope to learn from the weekend moving forward.

Friday, March 3

Weber State at Nebraska 2-3

The Wildcats got off to a promising start on Friday. Though they couldn’t secure the win, they had an impressive battle against the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The Cornhuskers came into the matchup at 9-6, having an impressive start to their season, but WSU was determined to give them a run for their money.

After a scoreless four innings – thanks to the efforts of pitcher Amanda Johnson – Weber State struck first. Mika Chong was the beneficiary, singling through the right side to score Faith Hoe in the top of the fifth. The lead would be short-lived, the Cornhuskers responding in their half of the inning on a Billie Andrews single. Weber State and Nebraska would trade sacrifice flies in the sixth and seventh to tie it at two going into the bottom half of the final inning, and the Cornhuskers would take advantage. Caitlynn Neal walked it off with a double off of Johnson to lift Nebraska to the victory.

Johnson was credited with the loss (5-4), having a solid outing of 6.1 innings, three earned runs, eight hits, and six strikeouts.

Friday, March 3

Weber State at #18 Arizona 0-8

Unfortunately, Weber State’s next game wasn’t so competitive. In the battle with the Wildcats, #18 Arizona pulled out the win in dominating fashion. With WSU’s lack of hitting success in the contest – limited to four hits against pitcher Devyn Netz – the game was over after the third inning. Arizona put together two rallies of three runs in the second and third innings, capping it off with two homers in the six-inning affair.

Three of Weber State’s pitchers took turns getting beat up in the contest. Madison Peterson was handed the loss (0-3), giving up three runs in 1.2 innings. Brooke Hatfield had a short outing, giving up three runs in her 0.1 innings, and Jayci Finch finished it with two earned runs over three innings.

Saturday, March 4

CSUN at Weber State 11-0

If the Wildcats thought the ending to the day before couldn’t get any worse, they would be sorely mistaken. The CSUN Matadors dominated Weber State right out of the gates. Maiya Alemania got things started for the Matadors with a single that scored one in the first. CSUN rallied in the second inning to knock Amanda Johnson out of the game, taking a 5-0 lead. They kept it pouring in the fourth with another five runs in the shortened contest.

The Wildcats only mustered one hit against pitcher Isabella Alonso, coming from Faith Hoe in the first inning. Johnson was handed the loss (5-5), and Madison Peterson was lit up in her three innings on the mound, giving up five runs. Jayci Finch had a brief showing, allowing one hit in her 0.1 innings.

Saturday, March 4

Nebraska at Weber State 9-1

Weber State’s slump continued in their rematch against the Cornhuskers. Johnson was back on the mound in the second game of the doubleheader and left more beat up than in her first outing. She did not record an out against Nebraska, giving up three runs before being relieved by Brooke Hatfield. Hatfield gave up three runs herself in 0.1 innings then Finch came in to finish the rest of the game. Johnson was again given the loss (5-6), with WSU’s lone run coming from a second-inning Lauren Hoe homer. This was the fifth home run of the season and 27th of her career, continuing to aim to make history for Weber State.

Sunday, March 5

Weber State at Texas A&M Commerce 7-8

The Wildcats concluded the weekend against Texas A&M Commerce, playing a more competitive game against the Lions. Amanda Johnson was the starter once again for Weber State and had another rough outing in their Hillenbrand finale.

The Lions started the action with a first-inning two-run home run from Diamond Sefe. Weber State’s bats came alive in the third, putting together a four-run rally and a double shy of hitting the cycle as a team in the inning. Everything seemed to be going WSU’s way in the contest after the shaky first inning. Johnson didn’t allow any runs through the next five innings, and the Wildcats tacked on three more to their lead, but the game wasn’t over.

Weber State entered the bottom of the seventh with a 7-3 lead, with the game all but secured, but the Lions had other plans in mind. They rallied in the seventh and took advantage of some poor Wildcat mistakes to keep their hopes alive. The inning was highlighted by an Ayanna Williams two-run homer to left field to bring the score within one, then Elizabeth Guerrero tied it with a single up the middle. WSU’s dreams were crushed by a fatal fielding error by Emily Ruhl that allowed the winning run to score. Johnson was given the loss (5-7), allowing seven earned runs – eight in total – in a heartbreaking loss to end the weekend.

Looking Ahead

The 5-14 Wildcats look to forget their Arizona woes, heading to Long Beach, CA to participate in the Louisville Slugger Tournament.


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