ST. GEORGE — Behind 14 hits and solid pitching by Tiffany Mills, the Utah Valley University softball team cruised to an 11-1 five-inning victory over the University of Nevada on Sunday afternoon at the Canyons Complex in St. George, Utah. The Wolverines finished their opening weekend of the season with a 4-1 record after winning four of their five games at the Red Desert Classic.
"Everyone stepped up for us again. That was a huge grand slam by Dynasty (Lauvai) and the homers from Jazmyne (Cortinas) and Amanda (Robinson) were just as big early on for us," UVU interim head coach Rachel Hartgrove said. "(Tiffany) Mills was awesome once again. She did a fantastic job of pitching out of jams for us today."
Robinson, who broke a UVU single-season record with 13 home runs last year, started the scoring for the Wolverines as she gave her team a 2-0 advantage in the first inning by blasting her first big fly of the 2013 season to left. Later in the inning, Krystin Jachim just missed a three-run home run, but Nevada's centerfielder Sara Parsons robbed her with a fantastic catch to end the Wolverine rally.
The Wolf Pack (2-2) countered back with a run of their own in the top of the second, but the Wolverines answered with four runs in the bottom of the frame to take a 6-1 lead. Kyle Brinkerhoff drove home the first two runs of the inning with a two-RBI single up the middle. Debra Lovell later plated Dara Kosanke with a single right, and Jachim followed with an RBI double to center that scored Brinkerhoff.
Cortinas then extended UVU's lead to 7-1 in the third as she led off the inning with her first collegiate home run by pulling one out to deep left.
Lauvai later helped the Wolverines put the game away in the fourth with a grand slam to left centerfield.
Mills went the distance in the circle for the Wolverines and allowed just one run while scattering seven hits. The senior righty also struck out five while walking just two. Mills is now 3-0 on the year with three complete game victories.
Kosanke, Robinson, Lovell, Lauvai and Cortinas all led UVU with two hits apiece. Karley Hopkins and Jasmine Jenkins also recorded two hits each for Nevada.
"This was a great tournament for us," Hartgrove said. "We had a little hiccup against Idaho State (an 11-3 loss) but that's where you learn and these kids did great. They answered right back. Today was just a complete team effort."
The Wolverines will head to Las Vegas next weekend to take part at UNLV's Easton Desert Classic on Feb. 15-17. There, UVU will face Long Beach State and San Jose State on Friday, No. 3 Cal and UNLV on Saturday, and No. 23 Hawai'i on Sunday.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit www.WolverineGreen.com.
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