Aggies begin softball season with 1-4 showing at Titan Classic
Over the weekend, the Utah State softball team opened up its season, winning one of its first five games as part of the Titan Classic held in Fullerton, Calif.
In the Aggies’ first two games of the Titan Classic, they fell 12-0 to Northwestern in the opener, and lost a close game 3-2 against Loyola Marymount in the second game of a double-header Friday night. Sophomore pitcher Delaney Hull started Utah State’s first game and pitched 2.2 innings before she was pulled for freshman Chloe Nightingale, who made her first collegiate appearance on the day.
The Aggies pitching wasn’t up to its normal standards, but the batting was also slow to get going, due to Northwestern holding the team to just one hit in the game coming off the bat of senior catcher Bailey Lewis.
Utah State played the second game of the double-header just a few hours later, this time faring better against Loyola Marymount. This game also featured a freshman pitcher for the Aggies, two in fact. Kapri Toone was the starter, making her first collegiate appearance as well, going three innings and giving up two earned runs.
Nightingale came in to pitch the last three innings, keeping the Aggies alive by not giving up any runs and striking out three. Unfortunately for Utah State, a late push in the sixth inning by the tune of two runs wasn’t enough to overcome Loyola Marymount’s three run lead.
Saturday started off strong for the Aggies with a 5-1 win over Pacific. This was a well-rounded performance from Utah State, seeing the offense grab seven hits including two home runs coming off the bats of junior outfielder Riley Plogger and sophomore third baseman Kennedy Hira. To accompany the good hitting, Hull rebounded from her loss the previous day to pitch a one run complete game and grab her first win of the season. However, this would come as the Aggies lone win in the tournament.
The team’s next outing was Saturday evening against the tournament hosts, Cal State Fullerton. It was another close loss for the Aggies, again by the score of 3-2 with both of the team’s runs coming in the sixth inning, courtesy of a two-run shot from freshman Lexi Orozco to pull the Aggies within one.
USU head coach Steve Johnson elected to go with two freshmen on the mound in the contest for the second time in the tournament, with Nightingale getting the start. She pitched 4.1 innings and gave up all three of Fullerton’s runs before Toone came in to pitch the final 1.2 innings.
After giving up seven runs to the Louisville Cardinals over the first two innings of Sunday’s game, Utah State went on to score five of its own over the final five innings. But, it proved to be too late and the Aggies weren’t able to pull ahead, losing its fourth and final game of the tournament.
Hull started her third game of the tournament, but picked up her second loss, going an inning and a third and giving up seven. Toone was the Aggies’ choice as reliever again in this game, and did well by pitching four and two-thirds scoreless innings along with five strikeouts. Utah State was able to get 10 hits off the Cardinals, its most in any game across the tournament.
Utah State is back on the field this weekend as part of the Littlewood Classic held in Tempe, Arizona. Similar to the Titan Classic, Utah State will play five games across three days including matchups with the No. 5 Florida Gators and No. 12 Arizona State.