LOGAN, Utah – Utah State softball earned its first series win of the conference season Sunday, as it posted an 8-0 five-inning shutout over New Mexico.
Every Aggie batter reached base at least once in the game, in one way or another. Sophomore second baseman Kennedy Hira was a perfect 2-for-2 at the plate, and was walked once. Junior outfielder Riley Plogger also had two hits on the day. Hira, junior second baseman Ryann Holmes and sophomore shortstop Lexi Orozco each had a home run in the game, while Orozco’s was a grand slam. That was the first USU grand slam of the season, and according to available records, the first by a freshman in program history.
Utah State ends the weekend with a 13-19 overall record, including a 4-7 Mountain West ledger. New Mexico falls to 11-28 on the year and 2-10 in league action.
Before a single out was made in the bottom of the first inning, Utah State jumped out to an early lead. Plogger opened the inning with a single back to the pitcher, then stole second. Junior outfielder Stephanie Reed then reached on a New Mexico error. A single from senior first baseman Bailee Trapp brought the first run of the day in, while senior designated player Bailey Lewis walked to load the bases. Hira then walked in a run, while keeping the bases full. Orozco followed with her grand slam, putting the Aggies up 6-0 and forcing a New Mexico pitching change. USU continued to see success in getting on the bases, but a double play and a fielder’s choice brought the inning to an end.
Utah State went on to add single runs in the second and third innings on Hira and Holmes’ solo home runs. New Mexico moved to its third pitcher of the day in the second inning. Hira earned the last hit of the day in the bottom of the fourth, but three strikeouts against the Aggies left her stranded.
New Mexico had at least one baserunner in each inning, but was never able to capitalize to score. The USU defense faced four batters in the top of the fifth, but each only used one pitch in their at-bats. One Lobo runner reached on an error, but the last fly ball to left field ended the game in a run-rule victory for Utah State.
Utah State out-hit New Mexico, 9-4, on the day, while both teams had two errors. Sophomore Delaney Hull pitched the complete game Sunday, striking out four batters and walking one to earn her second shutout of the season.
Utah State returns to non-conference play for a day next week as it hosts in-state rival BYU on Tuesday, April 9, at 4 p.m. The Aggies will then travel to play a three-game Mountain West series at Boise State. USU will open the weekend against the Broncos on Friday, April 12, at 4 p.m., followed by a 4 p.m. game on Saturday, April 13. The series will conclude on Sunday, April 14, at noon.