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No. 19 California’s big inning buries Weber State softball in home opener

By BRETT HEIN - Standard-Examiner | Mar 27, 2024
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Weber State catcher Eva Richardson, right, tags out Cal's Tatum Anzaldo (3) on Wednesday, March 27, 2024, in Ogden.
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Weber State's Jayci Finch pitches against Cal on Wednesday, March 27, 2024, in Ogden.

Though the weather didn’t indicate it was time for home softball, Weber State welcomed No. 19 California for its 2024 home opener Wednesday afternoon.

The Wildcats led early, let some runs go unscored, and Cal broke the door down in the fifth inning on the way to a 10-2, mercy-rule-shortened victory.

Weber State (12-16) remains at home and opens coach Mary Kay Amicone’s final Big Sky Conference campaign against Montana (12-17) with a 2 p.m. doubleheader Friday and a noon game Saturday.

Sarah Ruhl singled home Sienna Solis in the bottom of the second to put WSU ahead 1-0 but after Mia Rushton drew a two-out walk to load the bases, Taegan Smith flew out to right to end the inning.

Brooke Hatfield threw three strong innings to keep Weber State in it, surrendering a solo home run to Acacia Anders in the third to tie the game and get Cal (25-8) on the board.

But the upset bid fell apart in the fourth when Hatfield surrendered a two-run homer to Lagi Quiroga to put the visiting Bears ahead 4-1.

Joslynn Veltien pitched out of the fourth but put two runners on in the fifth, and Jayci Finch couldn’t shut the door. Elon Butler drove in Veltien’s two runners with a double against Finch, Hope Alley hit Cal’s third homer of the game to make it 8-1, and two more runs scored on a throwing error before Weber State could stop the rally.

WSU’s Kiaira Smith belted a no-doubter off the scoreboard in right-center to lead off the bottom of the fifth to make it 10-2, and Abby Grundy’s single resulted in Cal starter Ryann Orange exiting. With Ashanti McDade in the circle, Mariyah Delgado drew a walk.

With two on and nobody out, it seemed Weber State might have a rally when catcher Eva Richardson roped what looked like a sure double to right-center, but Butler skied at second base and snagged the ball out of the air, then doubled Grundy off at the bag.


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