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Weber State softball stuns Sacramento State with great defense, eliminates Hornets

By Brett Hein - Standard-Examiner | May 11, 2023

ROBERT CASEY, Weber State Athletics

Weber State center fielder Mia Rushton catches a fly ball against Sacramento State in the Big Sky Tournament on Thursday, May 11, 2023, in Ogden.

For the second straight day, Weber State softball built a big lead in the Big Sky Conference tournament. But unlike Wednesday’s opener, the Wildcats got the job done Thursday to stay alive.

No. 5 Weber State held on for a 7-5 victory at Wildcat Softball Field in Ogden, sending No. 2 Sacramento State home and advancing in the one-loss bracket for a rematch with No. 4 Portland State at 1 p.m. Friday.

Thursday’s contest was largely about leather. Weber State got several high-level defensive plays, including a diving catch by Mia Rushton in center field that eventually proved to save a run, and a KC Whiting sliding basket catch in foul territory behind first base.

Sacramento State, meanwhile, struggled with fielding and throwing in ways that allowed Weber State to extend innings at the plate and push across enough runs to win.

After Sarah Ruhl singled in Gianna Memoli to get WSU on the board, errors from Hornets third baseman Lewa Day and pitcher Savannah Wahl scored two more and the Wildcats led 3-1 after two innings.

Whiting followed her sliding catch in the top of the third with a difference-maker at the plate, ripping a triple to right-center field to score Memoli and McKell McCuistion for a 5-1 advantage.

That became a 7-1 advantage in the bottom of the fifth when Sac State left fielder Alexis Parish appeared to have a scintillating shoestring snag on a shallow liner off Rushton’s bat, but the ball trickled out of her glove as she stumbled forward in post-catch momentum. Whiting and Riley Whalen scored on the play.

With the defensive backup, Mandy Johnson threw five stellar innings before Katie Marsh got to her with a two-run double in the sixth to make it 7-3. Johnson then surrendered a single and issued a four-pitch walk to open the seventh, giving way to Jayci Finch.

Finch walked two and gave up a hit to make it 7-5 but with the bases loaded and the game on the line, she struck out Marsh and got Parish to ground out to third to end the game.

Rushton (three RBIs) and Memoli (three hits) led WSU offensively.


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