The Utah Valley University softball team picked up its first wins of the season and snapped a 13-game skid with two extra-inning victories over Sacred Heart and Manhattan at the Rebel Spring Games on Saturday.
The Wolverines (2-13) topped the Pioneers, 3-2, in eight innings before overcoming a six-run deficit to slip past the Jaspers, 9-8.
Trailing 8-2 heading into the bottom of the fifth inning, Utah Valley began to chip away at the deficit with a pair of runs in the frame. Brianna Gatlin doubled home Kelli Fox who had opened the inning with a walk, and Morgan Summers, who pinch ran for Gatlin, scurried home on a sacrifice fly from Debra Lovell.
That scoring inning got the bats going for the Wolverines who exploded for a four-run rally in the bottom of the sixth. With two outs and Dynasty Lauvai standing on third after a double, Gatlin reached on an infield single to plate Lauvai. A Brittney Vansway double brought Gatlin all the way around to score, setting the table for Hailey Kofler's big at-bat.
With the tying run on second and two away, the true freshman Kofler connected for her second homer of the day. The shot tied things up at 8-8 and closed out a 2-for-3 day with three RBIs.
The momentum squarely in the hands of the Wolverines, the game drifted into the eighth inning where the international tiebreaker came into effect. Dara Rahm, the fourth UVU pitcher to appear in the game, got the Jaspers to go three-up-three-down, and Lauvai played hero with an RBI single in the bottom of the frame to seal the 9-8 win.
It was the first career win in the circle for Rahm who threw 3.1 innings and allowed just one hit and struck out five.
Lauvai's walk-off single gave her two hits in the day's second game while Gatlin joined Kofler for a multi-RBI outing.
In the day's first game, UVU took a quick 2-0 lead over Sacred Heart after Vansway singled to bring home Lauvai and Fox. Lauvai opened the game with a leadoff double and Fox worked a walk.
The 2-0 count would hold until the bottom of the sixth when the Pioneers broke through for a pair of their own. Both runs came courtesy of some bases-loaded miscues as a walk and a passed ball allowed SHU runners to cross home plate.
The 2-2 deadlock remained until the eighth inning and another international tiebreaker situation. The Wolverines struck in the top of the frame after Fox pushed Lauvai to third with a sacrifice bunt. Gatlin then promptly singled to drive in what proved to be the winning run.
In the bottom of the eighth, pitcher Josi Summers got three straight outs — two of which came with the tying run standing on third — to pick up her first win of the season and help snap the Wolverines' 13-game, season-opening skid.
The Rebel Spring Games continue for Utah Valley on Sunday where it will face a pair of MAAC foes. The day begins at 12 p.m. MT against Siena and continues at 2 against Saint Peter's.
Kellen Hiser is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.