by Zachary Knecht
Featured Image: Photo by Weber State Athletics
Weber State Louisville Slugger Recap
The road trip to California was cut short for the Weber State Wildcats due to inclement weather, but WSU competed well in their two Thursday games. Though they didn’t get all the action they expected, the Wildcats made the most of their time in Long Beach and Fullerton against a couple of daunting opponents.
Weber State split their games – beating Boston but losing to Fullerton – coasting to 6-15 in the early campaign after a major hiccup in their previous trip. WSU’s pitching was the highlight of their outing, limiting its opponent’s production despite facing intimidating lineups.
The Wildcats dueled against the Boston University Terriers and Fullerton Titans. Each of these rosters came into Thursday with something to prove. Boston wanted to prove they could sustain their impressive start, while Fullerton looked to show their hot start wasn’t a fluke. Ultimately, Weber State proved it could compete at a high level no matter the venue.
Thursday, March 9
Boston at Weber State 1-2
The Wildcats got off to a slow start against Boston. The Terriers struck first off a Jayci Finch wild pitch after a mini-rally consisting of a couple of singles and a walk. The wild pitch sent Caitlin Coker home, giving Boston a 1-0 lead after the first inning. Then, it was quiet. Though the Terriers’ bats were very much alive in the contest, stringing together eight hits Thursday, they could not get anybody around the diamond. Boston left seven runners on base against Weber State, with Finch doing a phenomenal job getting out of jams and fending off a potent roster through her complete game.
The Wildcats took advantage of their opening, waiting until the bottom of the sixth inning to get going in the runs category. The bottom half of the penultimate inning was not a pretty sight, but WSU made the most of Boston’s mistakes to get the job done. McKell McCuistion led the inning with a single up the middle, followed by a Katelyn Whiting walk to get runners on first and second. Mika Chong’s at-bat started the chaos in the inning, reaching on a fielding error to load the bases. A Lauren Hoe fielder’s choice would tie the game at 1-1, and an Emily Ruhl ground out would give them their first lead.
Finch (1-0) closed out the game in the seventh, securing a gritty win for WSU. She finished the game allowing one earned run, eight hits, one walk, and striking out four. It wasn’t a flashy display of dominance, but Weber State did everything it needed to pull out the dramatic victory.
Thursday, March 9
Weber State at Fullerton 2-3
The magic couldn’t continue any further with the Wildcats playing on Fullterton’s home field. Though their offense looked more competent in the second game of the doubleheader, it wasn’t enough to secure back-to-back victories in the tournament.
The Titans got on the board first thanks to an Alexia Lopez single that scored Hannah Becer in the second inning. It didn’t take much for Fullerton to score, with a Becer walk and stolen base setting up everything they needed to drive in their first run. Another stolen base – this time from Antuanett Dean – gave the Titans another runner in scoring position in the third after she singled to shortstop. Alexa Neil pulled through with a double to left center to score the center fielder and extend their lead to 2-0.
The Wildcats wouldn’t let the game get out of hand, though. Mika Chong started the top of the fourth inning with a single to right field, and Emily Ruhl drove her in on a one-out double. Gianna Memoli then came in to pinch run for Ruhl, advancing to third on a wild pitch and eventually scoring off of a Victoria Rey single up the middle to even the game at 2-2.
The game didn’t stay knotted for long, and stolen bases continued to wreak havoc against Weber State’s pitching. Kika Ramirez reached base on a walk to begin the bottom half of the fourth. Maggie Paulo was subbed in as a pinch runner, stealing second before a Becer walk. Lopez would get both runners into scoring position with a sac bunt, and Deshea Hill retook the lead with a single that drove home Paulo. Becer was thrown out at home, and the scoring would cease for the rest of the contest.
Despite a decent outing, Madison Peterson (0-4) was credited with the loss, allowing three earned runs, six hits, and three walks but failing to strike out a batter in her six innings.
Though there were three more games to come in Cali, Weber State’s final two days were canceled due to inclement weather and poor field conditions, and we never got to see them face off against the top-tier competition in San Diego State, Purdue, and Long Beach State.
After their duel against New Mexico was canceled Wednesday, the Wildcats head to Oklahoma to play in the Omni Hall of Fame Classic, playing against a couple of ranked teams, including the #1 team in the country.
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