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Weber State softball wins twice Friday to take series at Portland State

By BRETT HEIN - Standard-Examiner | Apr 7, 2024

Robert Casey, WSU Athletics

Weber State infielders huddle in a game against Cal on Wednesday, March 27, 2024, in Ogden.

Weber State and Portland State entered the weekend tied atop the Big Sky standings after each claiming sweeps in the opening week of league play.

With two wins Friday, WSU edged slightly ahead of the pack through two weeks of conference competition while PSU claimed the series finale Saturday.

Weber State (17-17, 5-1 Big Sky) next hosts the University of Utah at 3 p.m. Wednesday before resuming Big Sky play with a three-game road series at Northern Colorado from April 12-13.

Portland State (15-18, 4-2) is one game back of WSU in league standings and, as of this writing, Northern Colorado was on track to sweep Montana and also reach a 4-2 conference record.

Freshman Kiaira Smith currently leads WSU in triple-crown categories, hitting .354 with five home runs and 19 RBIs while adding a team-high eight doubles. Abby Grundy also has 19 RBIs while hitting .327. Mia Rushton has scored a team-best 23 runs.

Cali McCraw leads the pitching staff with a 3.86 ERA in 51 1/3 innings over 20 appearances.

WSU 4, PSU 2

Brooke Hatfield threw a complete game, spreading eight hits across seven innings while pitching out of jams to give Weber State a victory in Friday’s first game.

WSU led 3-0 after Emma Bingham scored on an Abby Grundy flyout and PSU error in the first, and Gianna Memoli singled in Taegan Smith and Makayla Donahoo scored on a wild pitch in the second.

Hatfield kept PSU off the scoreboard in the first by inducing a two-out groundout with runners on second and third.

An error and two singles helped PSU answer in the bottom of the second. Hatfield walked two runs across to make it 3-2 but induced a lineout to right field to leave the bases loaded and the lead intact.

PSU got a runner to second base in the fourth, sixth and seventh innings but Hatfield stranded them there.

WSU 7, PSU 2

In Friday’s nightcap, Cali McCraw reprised her complete game win over Montana last week with another at Portland State. She took a no-hitter into the fifth where she gave up all three hits she surrendered in the contest, which put PSU up 2-1.

That spoiled a 1-0 lead earned when senior center fielder Mia Rushton led off the game with her first career home run in more than 500 at-bats.

But Rushton and company answered when they had to.

Mariyah Delgado walked and Taegan Smith singled to start the top of the seventh, and advanced to second and third on an error. After two pop-outs, however, the Wildcats were down to their last out.

Outfielder Tori Rey kept the game alive by rocketing a liner off pitcher Allicitie Frost and beating the throw to first, scoring Sienna Solis running for Delgado.

Rushton patiently worked a full count as Frost tried to paint the outside corner against the drag hitter, but Rushton won the battle and the game with a two-run single to center.

Kiaira Smith added to that, smacking a two-run homer to center for a 6-2 lead. Abby Grundy later doubled in Eva Richardson for the final tally. McCraw retired the Vikings in order in the bottom of the seventh to end the game.

PSU 8, WSU 3

Saturday’s series finale tracked similarly to the first two games until the fourth inning when Weber State gave up a 2-0 lead when the Vikings plated four unearned runs after an Abby Grundy error at third base.

Those four runs went against pitcher Brooke Merrill’s ledger, while the four PSU scored in the sixth inning came against Cali McCraw.

Grundy hit 2 for 3 at the plate, accounting for half of WSU’s hits.


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