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Softball Wins 3 of 4 against UTPB

—By Laura Nelson on 03/31/2012 Chelsea Usher slides in under the ball to score in the first game on Saturday.—Matthew Crook photo Chelsea Usher slides in under the ball to score in the first game on Saturday.—Matthew Crook photo Goodwell, Okla.—Wearing special pink jerseys to raise breast cancer awareness, the women of the Aggie softball team proved to have plenty of grit as they split the first two games of the four game series on Friday and went on to win both games Saturday against the Falcons from the Univ. of Texas of the Permian Basin to improve their season record to 18-19.

Kayla Pollard's seven strikeouts over six innings during game one on Friday was not enough to stop UTPB as they scored seven runs off seven hits. Neither team scored until inning four when UTPB made one run and one more in the fifth. OPSU scored one run in the fifth when Emily Vasquez doubled and then scored on a Britnie Weddle sacrifice fly. The Falcons had a productive sixth inning, scoring seven runs and holding the Aggies to only one more run to win the game 7-2. OPSU's two runs came off five hits and Brandi Heath and Weddle both picked up one RBI each.

In game two, OPSU responded to UTPB's first inning run as Chelsea Usher tripled and went on to score on a bad throw, tying the game at one. The Falcons led 2-1 at the top of the fourth, and then Emily Vasquez scored the tying run off a Kari Fry single. The Aggies held UTPB the rest of the game and a Heath single that scored Usher in the fifth proved to be the winning run. Winning pitcher Talena Tippett had two runs off nine hits and Presj'el Dai'Re closed the game with no hits in one inning of work. Usher had two runs off two hits in four appearances.

The pitching and fielding contest continued in game three on Saturday as both teams remained scoreless until the Aggies scored two runs in the third. Candace Smith fouled out, allowing Julie Cross to score and then Usher scored off Brandi Heath single. The lone Falcon run came in the sixth and then when the Aggies came up to bat, Smith hit a double, advanced to third, and scored on a Vasquez single to win the game 3-1.

The fourth and final game did not count in conference play, but the 8-5 win certainly upped Aggie confidence. Presj'el Dai'Re did a good job on the mound with four strikeouts in six innings and Tippett earned the save in one inning of work. OPSU blasted out of the dugout in the second to score the first six runs of the game. A Cross single scored Dezyrae Arredondo, and then Usher homered to score three followed by another home run by Heath to score two more. Usher picked up four RBIs and had two hits and two runs from three at-bats. Heath had two RBs while Smith and Cross each had two.

Post game, head coach Rachel Burleson said, "The team knew this (game 3) was a must-win today to keep us headed in the right direction. We showed up to play and beat a good team. I am so proud of the heart and perseverance they have shown so far this season."

The women travel to Portales for a nonconference doubleheader against Eastern New Mexico on Tuesday, April, 3, and then return home for another twin bill against Southeastern Okla. State on Thursday. Those games begin at 2 p.m.