USU softball series swept with a walk-off homerun

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Libby Peterson’s walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh inning gave Utah State softball an 8-7 win over Boise State on Sunday afternoon to complete a series sweep at home.

Pedersen was up to the plate and said going into it she was trying to calm herself down and forget about her past at-bat in which she struck out.

“I just tried to stay calm and take a deep breath,” said Pedersen, a senior first baseman. “I knew that if I stayed calm in that at-bat, good things would happen.”

And they did.

With a 2-1 count, she swung at the perfect pitch and hit a walk-off home run to end the game.

“That ball came in like a watermelon,” Pedersen said. “I just went for it and it went over the fence.”

The hit helped the Aggies to an 8-7 record in the Mountain West and 22-20 overall.

“We knew we would come back,” Coach Johnson said. “It was important for us to be able to come back and answer like that. It’s another step in our process of everybody understanding how to win these games.”

Noelle Johnson started again on the mound and struck out five of the first six outs for Utah State.

That inning only saw three batters from each team, but the Broncos put the first run on the board in the second with one run on two hits — a double and a single — making the score 1-0 going into the third.

Boise State was scoreless in the third but the Aggies put two runs on the board with a triple from Chow that scored Clarke and then Chow stealing home.

Victoria Saucedo brought the Aggies to a 4-1 cushion in the fourth inning with a two-run home run that broke the program record of total season home runs with 41 and tied the individual single-season record at 12.

The 4-1 cushion didn’t last very long, however. After three hits that loaded the bases and a grand slam that brought the Broncos ahead 5-4, Schroeder was brought in for Johnson and allowed two more unearned runs but finished the inning with a strikeout.

The score was 7-4 going into the sixth inning and Armendariz once again took the mound for Utah State and shut out the inning, allowing no hits and no runs.

“I had complete confidence in Katie going in. She struggled a little bit but then she shut the door,” Noelle Johnson said. “Then Alleyah came in and just completely shut them down.”

In the sixth inning, a walk and three singles brought one run in before there were any outs on the board for Utah State. One more run came in before the Aggies took the field in the seventh, bringing the score to 7-6.

The Broncos didn’t get any more runs in the seventh, leaving Utah State with the simple job of scoring at least one more run to stay in the game.

The series started out with a double-header on Friday, in which the Aggies came out strong with two runs in the first inning thanks to smart base running from outfielders Jazmin Clarke and Sarah Chow, who scored the runs and both got on base with a bunt and a single respectively.

Alleyah Armendariz started on the mound for Utah State in that first game and totaled two strikeouts and three walks.

The Broncos scored three unearned runs in the second inning with a sacrifice fly and two infield errors, but the Aggies manufactured only one baserunner that inning with no hits and no runs.

Boise State continued to score in the third inning, bringing the score to 3-4 by the time it was over.

Until the fifth inning the at-bats went by quickly and the outs came in a steady tempo for both teams. But that tempo was changed for Utah State in the fifth inning, starting with an RBI single from Armendariz followed by a three-run homer from Pedersen.

One more run came in for the Aggies in the sixth inning when Clarke walked to first then stole her way to third and scored on a sacrifice fly from Noelle Johnson.

The Broncos tried to come back in the top of the seventh and scored two earned runs with two outs on the board. Freshman Katie Schroeder then came in to relieve Armendariz and threw a fly-out to center to secure the win for Armendariz and record her first career save for herself.

Utah State then got right back to the field to face Boise State for the second game of the day’s double-header.

Johnson started the game on the mound for the Aggies and allowed two runs and three hits in the first inning, but her team retaliated on offense with six runs of their own with six hits and left two on base.

After that power inning from Utah State, they continued hitting the ball for the rest of the game while the Broncos recorded no more runs on one hit.

The game ended in four innings and the Aggies took the second victory 16-2.

“To come back from last week’s close games at Fresno State and take care of business like we did today is huge,” head coach Steve Johnson said. “It’s just another step in the progression of our team and we have to finish strong.”

USU’s week starts Monday with a double-header against Colorado State University in Logan and ending with a three-day series at San Diego State University.

“It’s always good to go in with a win,” said Johnson.

— paige.a.cavaness@aggiemail.usu.edu

Twitter: @ususportspaige