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Merrill, Weber State softball win close games to go 5-0 at Utah Tech tournament

By BRETT HEIN - Standard-Examiner | Feb 25, 2024

Weber State softball’s string of one-run losses to start the season evened out this week in St. George as the Wildcats were strong in crunch time to go 5-0 at a tournament hosted by Utah Tech University, winning four of those games by one run or in extra innings.

Weber High alum Brooke Merrill tallied four of the five wins in the circle for WSU.

Weber State (8-7) next plays at the Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, California, where the Wildcats will face a gauntlet of Texas A&M, UCLA, Oregon State, Fresno State and San Jose State.

WSU is one month (and 14 games) from its home opener on March 27, hosting Cal.

WSU 5, USU 4

Weber State opened the weekend with a Friday morning victory over Utah State, scoring three runs in the third for the 5-4 lead and holding serve from there.

Sammy Gallegos drove in two runs for WSU and Taegan Smith hit 2 for 4. Brooke Merrill threw 4 2/3 shutout innings for the win, allowing one hit and walking two.

WSU 10, UTU 9 (9)

Kiaira Smith and Olivia Birkinshaw each homered and WSU claimed a nine-inning win over host Utah Tech.

Tied 9-9 after a regulation seven, Brooke Merrill got two outs with the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth to keep the game going. Riley Whalen singled in Mia Rushton in the top of the ninth and Merrill retired the side in the bottom half for her second win of the day.

WSU 4, EKU 2

Brooke Merrill threw six shutout innings, striking out seven and walking one, for her third win as Weber State beat Eastern Kentucky on Saturday morning.

Kiaira Smith doubled in a run in the first and singled home another in the third. Tori Rey took home on a double steal in the fourth for the final tally.

WSU 5, USU 4

Weber State again topped Utah State 5-4, evening the season series 2-2 on Saturday afternoon.

Mariyah Delgado doubled in the second and fourth innings to drive in three runs. Trailing 4-3, Tori Rey walked with the bases loaded in the sixth to tie the game, and Makayla Donahoo singled home Taegan Smith in the seventh for the winning run.

Cali McCraw won in the circle, allowing one baserunner (a hit) in the final 2 1/3 innings, striking out two.

WSU 11, EKU 3 (8)

Trailing 3-1 through six innings, Weber State loaded the bases in the seventh and pushed across two runs on an error and a fielder’s choice to get the game to extra innings. Then the Wildcats poured on eight runs in the top of the eighth, with Makayla Donahoo’s two-RBI triple a punctuation mark.

Abby Grundy hit 3 for 5, and Riley Whalen and Taegan Smith each had two RBIs.

Cali McCraw allowed all three of EKU’s runs (only one was earned) in a 1/3-inning start. Jayci Finch threw 5 2/3 scoreless innings to hold the deficit, then Brooke Merrill tallied yet another win with two scoreless innings to finish the game, allowing one hit and striking out four.


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