UTSA drops Nevada Classic finale to Northern Colorado, 6-4
RENO, Nev. — Morgan Yuhas' eighth-inning grand slam broke a 2-2 and Northern Colorado held off UTSA, 6-4, on Sunday at the Nevada Classic.
Four players had two hits for the Roadrunners (15-12), who left nine runners on base. Victoria Birdwell scored a pair of runs to go along with her two hits, while Vivian Tijerina drove in two.
Yuhas’ four RBIs paced the Bears (9-17-1), who went 2-1 against UTSA this weekend, and Tianalia Fa’asua added a pair of hits and two RBIs.
Playing in their second extra-inning contest in the three meetings, Northern Colorado quickly loaded the bases with the international tiebreaker in effect following a bunt single and walk. UTSA starter Haylee Staton got a strikeout before Yuhas’ round-tripper gave the Bears a 6-2 lead.
The Birds had a chance to tie things up again in the bottom of the frame.
With Siera Sproul on second base, Birdwell reached on a bunt single and both scored when Tijerina doubled to right center. The hit sliced the deficit in half, but Kelci Cheney recorded the final two outs to preserve the win.
Northern Colorado opened the contest with two runs in the top of the first. Each of its first three batters came away with base hits before a strikeout. However, that was followed by a two-run single up the middle by Fa’asua.
Cheney made the lead stand until the fourth, when UTSA rallied for a pair of runs.
Jolene Graham, Birdwell and Tijerina opened the frame with infield hits to load the bases for Paige Hamilton. The San Antonio native came up with her sixth RBI of the season with a sacrifice fly to center that also allowed Birdwell and Tijerina to move up 60 feet. Alexis Ramirez's two-out single to left plated Birdwell, but pinch-runner Crystal Moreno was tagged out at home trying to give UTSA the lead.
The Roadrunners threatened in the fifth, but they had another runner tagged out at home and neither team could generate enough offense in the sixth or seventh, which sent the game to extras.
Cheney (6-5) went the distance and allowed four runs on 10 hits with a pair of walks and four strikeouts.
Meanwhile, Staton (7-4) gave up a half dozen runs on eight hits in her eight innings. She struck out eight and walked a pair.
UTSA will open Western Athletic Conference play on Friday, March 22, when travels to I-35 rival Texas State (5-22) for a 4 p.m. doubleheader.