May 8, 2010

Softball drops Saturday pair to Utah Valley

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Game one results | Game two results | NC season stats

GREELEY -- Northern Colorado softball produced a fair amount of offense against Utah Valley on Saturday afternoon, but it wasn't enough to halt the rolling Wolverines, who dealt the Bears a 6-4 loss and a 13-5 six-inning defeat at Butler-Hancock Softball Field.

Northern Colorado (17-33, 8-10 Pacific Coast Softball Conference) knocked out 19 hits across the two games, with seven batters collecting at least two hits, but Utah Valley (27-24, 13-5) hit a scorching .422 as a team (27-64) to earn the pair of key league victories.

The Bears entered the month of May on a hot streak, claiming victories in eight of their final nine April contests, but Saturday's trip-ups dropped them to 1-5 in May.

They'll try to rectify that slide at noon Sunday with a season-finale home doubleheader against these same Wolverines. Northern Colorado Athletics and the Bears' coaching staff will host prior to Sunday's first game a special Senior Day celebration, where Kelley Johns, Noel Wees, Jessica McNabb and Jessie Schoepflin will all be recognized prior to their final day in the blue and gold.

Junior Kailee Vessey continued her remarkable final push to the 2010 season Saturday with a 3-for-7 day at the plate, which also included a double and a pair of RBIs.

She had two hits in the Bears' first game and then hit another in the second contest to run her hitting streak to a season-best 10 games. Vessey began her streak on April 24 against Weber State, and in the 10 games since she's seen her season batting average rise from .175 to its current .269 mark.

Jamie Juelfs and Kelli Henderson joined Vessey with three-hit performances Saturday, and Erin Wilkinson, Megan Hamilton, Schoepflin and Erin Geddis were right behind with two-hit efforts.

The Bears actually held a 4-0 lead following the third inning of the first game, but Utah Valley got all the scoring it would need in its half of the fourth, plating six runs and claiming all the momentum in the contest.

Juelfs (5-14) held the Wolverines in check for the first three innings in the circle before UVU struck for four hits, including back-to-back homers, and five runs to chase her into the dugout.

Henderson came on in relief and allowed three more hits and another run, but the damage was already done.

Henderson (5-12) then started in the circle in the second game, but she surrendered nine runs (eight earned) on 12 hits in five innings.

Juelfs came on in relief this time, to start Utah Valley's sixth, but her struggles continued. She allowed four runs without recording an out, which prompted Northern Colorado to bring in Melisa Ryba, who struck out the side to get out of the inning.

The Bears, down 13-4, pushed a single run across in the bottom of the sixth, after Ryba reached on a single down the left-field line and later scored on an RBI single from Kaylyn James, but they could get no more to avoid the game ending on run differential.