OGDEN — Utah State followed up its first postseason victory since 1984 on Tuesday with back-to-back losses in the National Invitational Softball Championship regional round. First to Weber State, 2-0, then Boise State, 10-2 (in six innings).
With the losses, the Aggies season is now over, but senior first baseman Paxton Provost, who stood on the field long after the end of the second game, was proud of the success of the team this season.
“It’s been an honor and a privilege to be a part of such an amazing program, Provost said. “It’s a rough way to end like this. But looking back we’ve made so many strides just in the last four years and this season alone.”
The Aggies finished the season with an 33-18 overall record, the team’s highest win total since 1993, when the team finished the year at 39-17.
It was early struggles on defense doomed the Aggies in both games. Weber State had five hits and recorded the Wildcats recorded the decisive two runs before Utah State recorded five outs. Boise State had a total of eight hits — three of which were home runs — and seven runs in the first three innings.
The offense for the Aggies was as cold as the sub-40 degree temperatures. Utah State’s only runs for the day came on a short spurt of hits from Riley Plogger and Brina Buttacavoli. Buttacavoli was the only player who recorded a hit in both games. She went a combined 2-4 at the plate with one RBI on the day.
According to Johnson, the Aggies “didn’t have the same energy today” that they had when they beat San Diego, 8-0, on Tuesday.
“We didn’t make adjustments at the plate in both games,” Johnson said. “You gotta score runs and we just didn’t get that done today.”
For Johnson, starting out slow has been a weakness for the team throughout the season.
“One thing we’ve got to be better at is setting the tone right away from the start,” Johnson said. “Most of our losses have been exactly like the Weber State one where we had a bad first at bat followed by a so-so defensive inning. And that just sets the tone.”
Though the cold weather likely impacted Utah State’s play, especially early on, Johnson refused to use it as an excuse for losing either game.