Coyotes earn split with 17th-ranked Golden Eagles
February 13, 2012By Dan Cabrera of College of Southern Nevada
CSN pitcher Sarah Rivera smacks a base hit off of CSI pitcher Grace Combs in the first game of a SWAC doubleheader on Thursday in St. George, Utah. CSN won 7-5, but dropped the second game 5-2. Photo courtesy: Steven Romero.
ST. GEORGE, Utah -- The saying "tomorrow is a new day" couldn't be more true for the College of Southern Nevada softball team.
A day removed from a forgettable defensive performance, the Coyotes came out firing, focused to play against 17th-ranked College of Southern Idaho. They put that momentum to work late in the first game of their Scenic West Athletic Conference doubleheader, scoring four runs in the sixth inning to come from behind and upset the Golden Eagles 7-5 at The Canyons Complex.
Southern Idaho held off CSN in the second game 5-2 to take the series, three games to one.
CSI (11-6, 3-1 SWAC) opened up the scoring in the third inning, scoring three runs on three extra-base hits -- capped by a two-run home run by Patti Ferguson. The Coyotes then loaded the bases in the bottom half of the inning with one out. A bases-loaded walk to Tuiuli Felise scored Jasmine Fukuda to put CSN on the board, but CSI pitcher Grace Combs was able to get Sarah Rivera to strike out and Desiree Laswell to pop-up to second to get out of the jam.
Down 4-1, CSN (6-10, 1-3) threatened again in the fifth. Brigit Godfrey slapped a ball to third and beat out the throw for an infield single. Alicia Firelein walked, and following a groundout by Felise, Rivera capitalized and smacked a single right up the middle, scoring Godfrey and Firelein to cut the lead to one, 4-3. That's all the Coyotes would get in that inning, thanks to a controversial interference call by the umpires when the relay throw to first on a double-play attempt hit the left arm of pinch-runner Karla Serrano as she was running to second in what appeared to be a bad relay throw that hit the baserunner.
The Eagles added another run in the sixth on an infield single to make it 5-3 before CSN's heroics came to life in the bottom half of the inning.
Erin Romero started off the inning with a solo home run to left center that brought the Coyotes within one. A Hope Curtis single and pinch-hit double by Lianna Bajarin put two runners in scoring position with no outs. Fukuda scored pinch-runner Jenise Gutierrez on a groundout to short to tie the game at 5. Godfrey then reached on an error by CSI shortstop Lea Hopson, scoring Bajarin to give CSN the lead for good. A few at-bats later, Rivera smacked an RBI single to score Godfrey for the final margin.
The series finale was another tight ballgame. The Eagles wasted no time scoring in the first. Tyler Wilkinson reached on an error, advanced on a wild pitch, then was driven in on a double by Alyana Watson to give CSI a 1-0 lead.
That score held up until the sixth, when Wilkinson crushed a homer to straight-away center to make it 2-0. That would be the beginning of a three-run inning for the Eagles, as Nikki Brailsford hit a two-run home run to increase the lead to 4-0.
The Coyotes broke up a no-hit bid by CSI pitcher Jyl Eckstein in the bottom of the sixth, and also put up a pair of runs on RBI singles by Firelein and Rivera to avoid the shutout.
CSN remains in St. George to begin a four-game series with North Idaho College, with doubleheaders scheduled for noon both Friday and Saturday.