Junior Jennifer Purcell came off the bench and took the first pitch she saw down the right field line to drive in two runs in the top of the eighth, which proved to be the difference in Nevada softball’s 10-8 victory over San Diego State Friday night. The win for the Wolf Pack (18-17, 7-5 MW) marks just the fifth win in program history over the Aztecs (12-25, 3-7 MW).
Nevada’s high octane offense exploded for 19 hits in the series-opening win as the Pack has now scored 10 or more runs seven times this season. The Pack’s offense was led by senior Aaliyah Gibson, who went 4-for-6 in the game, tying her career-high for hits in a single contest. She was joined by five other Wolf Pack players who recorded multiple hits on the day, including sophomore Sadaria McAlister, who went 3-for-6.
After Nevada jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the top of the first, San Diego State responded with a trio of runs to tie the score at three. The Aztecs proceeded to take their first lead of the game at 5-3 in the bottom of the second, putting the Pack in its first deficit of the game.
The two-run hole proved to be no challenge for Nevada, as three runs in the fourth gave the Pack the lead once again at 6-5. Nevada then stretched its lead to a pair in the sixth after another clutch, pinch hit from sophomore Jyllian Ahart brought home junior Alyssa Mendez to give the Pack a 7-5 advantage.
The seesaw battle continued in the bottom of the inning with SDSU reclaiming a one-run lead after plating three runs of its own to hold a tight 8-7 lead. As displayed throughout the season, Nevada showed its fight and rose up to the occasion in the top of the seventh, with senior Erika Hansen continuing to make her case for an All-American honor.
She stepped up to the plate with McAlister at third and sent a 1-2 pitch right back up the middle to knot the score at eight. The Pack then carried its momentum into extra innings and flexed its offensive power by scoring a pair of runs to take a two-run lead.
After Nevada’s first two batters reached base to begin the inning, Purcell then came off the bench and sent the first pitch she saw deep down the right field line scoring Mendez and junior Ali Tedford to once again give the Pack the lead, 10-8. SDSU never went down without a fight though.
The bottom of the eighth saw the Aztecs threaten to win it all, having loaded the bases with no out, but Nevada head coach Josh Taylor went to his bullpen and called upon Amanda Geil to record the save and she delivered. Geil entered the game and immediately induced a double play and followed that with a ground ball to end the contest and seal the 10-8 victory for the Pack. Nevada will be back in action on Saturday for the second game of the three-game series with SDSU, which is slated for 6 p.m. PT.