Walk-offs lead UTA Softball to series victory

The ball flies past Aileen Garcia, first baseman and catcher, April 22 during the game against Troy University at Clay Gould Ballpark. The Mavericks was defeated by the Trojans 8-7.

The UTA softball team (24-20, 12-8) secured a 2-1 series victory against Troy University (28-20, 12-10) in a modified triple-header on Sunday at Allan Saxe Field.

Game No. 1: UTA 5, Troy 4

Senior infielder Sandra Mendoza was hit by a pitch to lead off the first. She then advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt by junior outfielder Laura Curry. Following a throwing error by the catcher, Mendoza advanced to third base.

Sophomore infielder Whitney Walton flied out to left field, giving Mendoza the opportunity to tag up at third and score the first run of the game.

Troy took the lead with three runs in the top of the third, then added one run in the top of the fourth to take a 4-1 lead.

In the bottom of the sixth, Curry reached base on a one-out single. Later, a ground out and a passed ball allowed her to advance to third.

Sophomore infielder Aileen Garcia worked a walk and junior outfielder Kayci Moore came on to pinch run for her. Curry scored on a wild pitch and Moore moved to third base.

Sophomore catcher Reagan Wright then connected on a pitch for a game-tying two-run home run to send the game into extra innings.

In the bottom of the 11th inning, Curry knocked a walk-off home run to right field to give the Mavericks the game one victory.

Freshman pitcher Randi Phillips (14-7) earned the win as she worked 11 innings, allowing four runs off 12 hits while striking out four.

Curry led the Mavericks at the plate, going 3-3 with a pair of runs, an RBI and a home run.

Game No. 2: UTA 5, Troy 2

Sophomore infielder Brittany Wyllie crushed a walk-off grand slam to secure a 5-2 series-clinching victory for the Mavericks.

Troy got on the scoreboard first with one run in the top half of the first inning.

The Mavericks responded with a run of their own in the bottom half of the inning, when freshman infielder Kjirstyn Murphy earned a two-out bases-loaded walk, scoring Sandra Mendoza.

Troy scored the go-ahead run in the fourth, taking a 2-1 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh, giving the Mavericks one last chance to respond.

Garcia started the inning with a double to left center field. Wright reached base on a walk. A pair of pinch runners entered the game. Sophomore outfielder Melanie Mendoza for Wright and Moore for Garcia.

Murphy also reached base on a walk, loading the bases for Wyllie.

Wyllie swung on the first pitch of her at-bat and it cleared left field, her first home run of the season, and she was met at home plate by her elated teammates.

“My goal was to be a tough out, I wanted to hit it deep and use my legs,” Wyllie said. “It ended up going my way and over.”

As part of the Sun Belt Fights Cancer initiative, pink towels were given out and the players donned pink shoelaces to show support.

Wyllie said that the theme was important to her.

“It’s awesome to see everyone come out,” Wyllie said. “Personally, my grandma just beat breast cancer, so it’s a cool feeling to have the support and help us fight cancer.”

Sophomore pitcher JoJo Valencia (9-12) took the victory in the circle. She pitched seven innings, allowed two runs off seven hits and struck out one batter.

Game No. 3: Troy 8, UTA 7

The softball team was looking for the series sweep, but its late inning rally fell short.

Phillips started the game in the circle, but after a five-run third inning, which included a grand slam by Troy, senior Alyssa Chavez came in to replace her.

Troy added two runs in the fifth and owned a 7-0 lead when the Mavericks started to rally in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Walton and Garcia started the inning with back-to-back singles.

Wright stepped up to bat and hit a three-run home run, closing Troy's lead to 7-3.

The Trojans extended their lead to 8-3 in the top of the seventh off of a wild pitch.

In the bottom of the seventh, Sandra Mendoza reached after she was hit by a pitch and Curry reached on a fielder’s choice.

Walton then doubled to right field to score Curry. Garcia followed with a single to left field, advancing Walton to third.

Wright then hit her second three-run home run of the game to bring the Mavericks within one, but a line drive cut their rally short.

Phillips (14-8) took the loss. She pitched 2.1 innings and surrendered five runs off three hits. Chavez finished the game with 4.2 innings pitched, allowing three runs off three hits while striking out one.

The softball team returns to field for a three-game series against the University of Louisiana at Lafayette starting at 1 p.m. Saturday at Allan Saxe Field.



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