Softball, Sports, Women's Sports

LBSU unravels in extra innings, falls to Utah State 4-2

This season has not been kind to Long Beach State softball, to say the least after they dropped the past four games at home as part of the Louisville Slugger Invitational. The Beach looked to senior starting pitcher Sophia Fernandez to put a stop to the rough weekend.

Fernandez would shine in what her head coach Kim Sowder would call one of her best games of the season. The senior would throw all eight innings and struck out four, which were season highs for her, and allowed seven hits and just two earned runs in a dominant outing.

“[Fernandez] just did a really good job of mixing everything up, using all of her pitches really keeping them off-balanced and a great job in the circle,” Sowder said. “She gave us a really great opportunity to win that ball game.”

The first six innings were all about the pitching from both sides with the score tied at zero and Utah State didn’t have a runner reach scoring position until the seventh inning.

“I mainly focused on my drop ball and staying away, as well as change-ups,” Fernandez said. “I was a little bit tired today but I’m learning to push through and using my good stuff from my warmups.”

The Aggies’ arms held their own in this matinee pitching duel with graduate starting pitcher Katie Zuniga and sophomore reliever Tess Bumiller combing for four shutout innings, allowing just three hits.

Long Beach State had opportunities to plate runs on multiple occasions but failed to capitalize in the early innings.

Long Beach State softball's junior infielder Carly Robbins anticipated her teammates' hit to steal third base. Robbins would get two hits in a 4-4 loss to Utah State 4-2 on extra innings Sunday at the LBSU Softball Complex.
Long Beach State softball's junior infielder Carly Robbins anticipated her teammates' hit to steal third base. Robbins would get two hits in a 4-4 loss to Utah State 4-2 on extra innings Sunday at the LBSU Softball Complex. Photo credit: Devin Malast

In the home half of the second inning with two runners aboard, senior first baseman Cassie Camou struck a ball deep into right-center field and Aggies sophomore outfielder Kya Pratt made a sensational catch to end the inning and save two runs.

A pair of walks and an infield single would load the bases in the bottom of the third where again LBSU would fail to get a runner across, with the inning coming to an end after junior catcher Rebekah Durazo struck out for The Beach.

The trend would appear again with Long Beach State up to bat in the sixth inning after a leadoff double by senior left fielder Sara Olson and a pinch-hit single from freshman Erica Estrada would give a prime opportunity for The Beach.

Long Beach State softball's freshman, outfielder, Erica Estrada attempted to bunt the ball to get herself on base. The Beach would end the game short against Utah State with a score of 2-4.
Long Beach State softball's freshman outfielder Erica Estrada attempted to bunt the ball to get herself on base. The Beach would come up short against Utah State losing by the score of 4-2 on Sunday at the LBSU Softball Complex. Photo credit: Devin Malast

With no outs and runners on the corners, Utah State’s redshirt sophomore relief pitcher Denay Smith escaped the jam with a flyout to left, strikeout and a groundout to end the inning unscathed, keeping the ballgame scoreless.

The seventh inning is when both teams’ bats came alive, starting with a controversial call on an infield single putting the leadoff hitter on base to start the inning. The runner came across to score the game’s first run via a sacrifice fly from junior first baseman Giselle Gonzalez for Utah State.

Down to their final out in the bottom half of the inning with a runner on first, sophomore outfielder Makayla Medellin found the gap, plating the tying run. However, she would get caught in a rundown between second and third, sending the game into extra innings.

Long Beach State softball's junior, infielder, Jacquelyn Bickar attempted to steal home plate during the game against Utah State. The last game in the Louisville Slugger Invitational would make LBSU's record 4-21.
Long Beach State softball's junior infielder Jacquelyn Bickar attempting to steal home in a 4-2 loss against Utah State on Sunday at the LBSU Softball Complex. The last game in the Louisville Slugger Invitational would make LBSU's record 4-21. Photo credit: Devin Malast

With a runner on second to start the top of the eighth, Utah State would string together a couple of base hits to take the lead once more. Only one of the three eighth-inning runs would be earned, as a fielding error from the catcher and passed ball would be critical in the Aggies scoring.

LBSU’s agonizing day at the plate would continue in their final at-bats in a game that will be remembered for squandering multiple chances with runners in scoring position.

A walk and hit by pitch would load the bases with no outs for The Beach, but they would only manage to get one of those runs across on a fielder’s choice, losing by a final score of 4-2.

Sunday’s loss drops Long Beach State to 4-21 on the season with their first conference games against UC Riverside slated for next weekend where they look to turn their season around.

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