Featured Image: Photo by Weber State Athletics
by Zachary Knecht
The Weber State Wildcats concluded their season at home for the Big Sky Championship Tournament against the Portland State Vikings. It was one-and-done for WSU after rolling through the tournament last season, losing in a slugfest to the fourth seed. The home-field advantage didn’t save Weber State, with their season coming to an untimely end in Ogden.
It was a rollercoaster of a season for the Wildcats, having one of the toughest out-of-conference schedules in the nation and many series postponed to inclement weather, but they made the most of the hand they were dealt. Six players earned spots on all-conference teams, including Lauren and Faith Hoe, Mika Chong, McKell McCuistion, Emily Ruhl, and Amanda Johnson. Lauren Hoe and Chong headlined the list as First Team selections.
Weber State versus Portland State 7-11
The Wildcats and Vikings kicked off the Big Sky tournament with their battle of the fourth and fifth seeds. It was Weber State that struck first in the postseason outing, with Lauren Hoe driving in her twin on a right-field single in the top of the first inning. Amanda Johnson pitched a scoreless bottom half before WSU got another chance to extend their lead. A pair of two-RBI doubles from Chong and Emily Ruhl continued to push the momentum in Weber State’s favor, leaving the top half of the second with a healthy 5-0 head start. Portland State would not continue quietly, the next few innings swinging in its favor.
The Vikings played small ball from the second to the fourth inning with no power supplying their production. They poured on walks and singles against Johnson and Jayci Finch, taking a 6-5 lead by the end of the third. A Lauren Hoe two-run blast put the lead back in the Wildcats’ favor, but Portland State stuck with what worked, slapping together another rally to go up 8-7.
Weber State’s lineup fell silent after the fourth, looking like the Vikings’ rally took all of the wind out of their sails. The Wildcats only mustered two more hits in the contest, both coming in the fifth inning. Portland State tacked on three more runs – partially thanks to a fielding error – but already had all the lead they needed to put the game away and advance to the next round.
Johnson pitched just over four innings for WSU, conceding six runs – one unearned – on six hits, seven walks, and three strikeouts. Finch didn’t have much better success, giving up six runs – two unearned – off of four hits and two walks. Madison Peterson had a brief appearance, allowing two walks and nothing else.
No matter the result, Weber State went out and fought through adversity throughout this season. The Wildcats continue to be the pride of Ogden, supplying their fans with exciting performances no matter the sport, time, or place.
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