Wildcats earn first SWAC road victory
The extended pitching of Kristina George, and home runs by Triniece Lesky and Dakota Robinson propelled Western Nevada College to a doubleheader softball split against Snow College on Friday in Ephraim, Utah.
Kimbri Herring blanked the Wildcats on three hits in the opening game as the Badgers won, 6-0, but George hurled a complete game after throwing 3 1/3 innings in the opener as WNC bounced back for a 5-2 victory.
It was WNC’s first road win in 10 Scenic West Athletic Conference games and the doubleheader split left the fourth-place Wildcats with a 5-9 conference record. Third-place Snow is 7-7 in SWAC play.
“They are a tough team, so it was great to get a split,” WNC coach Leah Wentworth said. “The confidence that they got after last weekend’s (sweep of Colorado Northwestern) spilled over to today and it’s nice to see that they are finding ways to secure games where we have a lead.”
Lesky’s second homer of the season in the second inning of Game 2 provided the Wildcats’ first run of the day.
Robinson’s two-run homer in the fifth gave the Wildcats a three-run edge, her third long ball of the season.
George gave up six hits and two earned runs, while striking out four and walking one.
“It was a great outing all the way around,” Wentworth said. “Fundamentally, we played well in the second game with no errors, we had offense through the lineup and production from the bottom half of the lineup, and a great outing by Kristina.”
For three innings of the series opener, George was nearly perfect in the circle. WNC’s sophomore pitcher held the Badgers hitless until the fourth inning, when Snow rallied for four runs.
Herring ensured the Wildcats didn’t rally, blanking WNC on three hits, striking out seven and walking two.
Wildcat sophomores Mecham, Robinson and Briauna Carter had the only hits off Herring as WNC’s four-game winning streak came to an end.
Snow’s decisive rally started with a triple by Makenzie Simons and a walk to Alyssa Arsianian. Following a groundout, Autumn Dzierzon delivered a two-run double to right field to snap the scoreless tie. An error and a RBI single by Ashlynn Petersen completed the four-run rally.
The Badgers plated two more runs in the fifth inning against reliever McKell Marble.
George lasted 3 1/3 innings, permitting four hits and three earned runs. Marble worked the final 2 2/3 innings, allowing two hits and two earned runs.
“McKell did a great job after coming in, and we couldn’t have asked for any more from her,” Wentworth said.
WNC fell behind 2-0 in Game 2 as Shaylee Larsen tripled in two runs in the first inning.
However, the Wildcats came back to tie the score at 2 by pushing a run across the plate in the second and third innings. Lesky homered with two outs in the second, then Kacie Freudenberger knocked in Mecham from first base with a double to center to get the Wildcats even.
The Wildcats pulled ahead, 3-2, in the fourth inning when Mecham’s groundout to the pitcher allowed Lesky to come home from third base.
WNC extended its lead to 5-2 on Robinson’s two-out, two-run homer in the fifth. Carter was hit by a pitch prior to the Robinson’s homer, which chased Badger starting pitcher Riley Cox.
“We were having a hard time laying off the riseball in the opener,” Wentworth said. “In the second game, they were jamming us on our hands, but we were made good adjustments throughout the lineup.”
Outfielder Noa Talia, who injured her knee in the Salt Lake series two weeks ago, returned to the Wildcat lineup.
The Wildcats (10-15 overall) and Snow will conclude their four-game series with a doubleheader starting at 11 a.m. Saturday.