On what turned out to be a clear and sunny day, the Nevada softball team used another big seventh inning to score the go-ahead run and take down Southern Utah, 4-3, on the third day of the Red Desert Classic. Sunday’s victory over the Thunderbirds (2-11) marked the Pack’s second win over Southern Utah this season, which helped Nevada improve its record to 12-6 on the year.

The afternoon began with the Pack finding its way on the scoreboard in a hurry, courtesy of Nevada’s first two batters reaching base. Freshman Sierra Mello started the matchup with a double to the left-centerfield gap and came around to score after junior Aaliyah Gibson tripled down the right field line to bring Mello home, giving the Pack an early lead, 1-0.

The next five innings became a pitching battle between sophomore Amanda Geil and the Thunderbirds as Geil went unblemished during that span. She finished the afternoon pitching into the sixth inning and striking out four batters to go along her lone walk of the game.

Holding on to a tight one-run lead for most of the game, Geil received some extra run support in the top-half of the sixth inning, when the Pack’s offense crossed the plate two more times in the frame. Senior Raquel Martinez got the inning started for Nevada, reaching base on an error from the Southern Utah shortstop.

With Mello and Gibson moving her to third, freshman Kenzi Goins found a hole in right field to bring Martinez home as Goins landed on second for her third double of the season. Goins finished the game going 2-for-3 with a run scored and a run batted in. Junior Erika Hansen then followed the two-bagger from Goins with a base-knock of her own, allowing Goins to score on the play and extend Nevada’s lead to 3-0.

Southern Utah didn’t go down without a fight though as the Thunderbirds responded in the bottom-half of the inning to tie the score at three a piece, after hitting two home runs. However, the Pack used yet another big final inning to come out on top, scoring the go-ahead run in the top of the seventh.

It started with senior Nikki Orozco connecting on a ball that was sent up the middle and followed by a rocket of a line drive from junior Jennifer Purcell to move freshman Sadaria McAlister, who came in to pinch-run for Orozco, to third base.

With runners now in scoring position, senior Melissa Arriaga took a ball to left field, which allowed McAlister to score from third and give Nevada the lead at 4-3. In the bottom of the seventh, Nevada’s defense locked in and retired Southern Utah in order to claim the victory.

The Pack will be back on the field Wednesday, March 8 as the team travels to Stockton, Calif. to take on Sacramento State. First-pitch for that matchup is scheduled for 1 p.m. PT.

Nevada Press Release