Nevada Splits Doubleheader to Clinch Share of WAC Title

By  | 

The Nevada softball team won its second straight WAC regular season championship after splitting a doubleheader at San Jose State on Saturday.

Nevada and Fresno State are co-champions for the regular season title and Nevada will be the No. 2 seed in the WAC Tournament, which begins Wednesday in Fresno, Calif. Nevada will play No. 5 New Mexico State on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.

Nevada and San Jose State played 24 innings over two games on Saturday with the Pack winning game one 5-3 in 14 innings. The Pack fell 1-0 in game two in 10 innings.

Senior Brittany Puzey extended her streak of consecutive games reaching base safely to 29 in a row and in 48 of Nevada’s 50 games this season.

Nevada clinched a share of the WAC title with a victory in game one as Holverson delivered a sparkling performance. Holverson fanned 11 and gave up just three runs – two earned – as Nevada took a grueling 5-3 victory over the Spartans in 14 innings.

Holverson set the school’s single-season record for wins as she improved to 23-7 with that victory. The junior worked out of a number of jams and kept the Pack in the game until the offense came around in extra innings.

Brittany Puzey homered in the 13th to put Nevada up 3-2 but the Spartans scored an unearned run in the bottom of the inning to send it to the 14th inning.

In the 14th, Jessica Haight got things going with a leadoff single. Noelle Micka and Britton Murdock each delivered RBI singles to give the Pack the 5-3 lead, which Holverson protected in the bottom of the 14th

That win was the Pack’s sixth in a row.

The Pack got started early in game one. With one out in the first, Kym Silagyi slammed the 17th triple of her career and 8th of the season (both school records) and scored on a throwing error on the play. After Puzey was hit by a pitch, she stole second, the 38th steal of her career and 15 of the season (both school records). She scored on an RBI double by Britton Murdock and Nevada had a 2-0 lead.

The Spartans got one back in the bottom of the first inning but both teams went silent for a while after that.

San Jose State threatened in the bottom of the fifth as Sarah Taylor tripled with one out. After an out and a walk, Holverson got cleanup hitter Mallory Bair to ground out to short to end the threat.

The Spartans threatened again in the sixth in and this time came through with a run after a leadoff double by Kayla Hayes as San Jose State scored with a groundout to move the runner over and a sacrifice fly.

Holverson worked out of a number of jams during the game but none was bigger than the jam in the ninth. San Jose State loaded the bases with three singles and just one out. But Holverson induced a fly ball to short left field and then notched her seventh strikeout of the game to get out of the frame.

San Jose State pitcher Amanda Pridmore matched Holverson every step of the way as she held the Pack to just five hits through 11 innings.

San Jose State again put something together in the bottom of the 12th with runners on first and second with just one out. But Holverson deftly worked out of another jam.

In game two, it was a pitchers’ duel between Nevada’s Mallary Darby and SJSU’s Elyssa Fox. The two hurlers scattered hits and worked out of jams for six scoreless innings

The Pack left six runners on in the first six innings, including two in the sixth when the Pack had first-and-third with one out and failed to capitalize. In the seventh, Sarah Hunt singled and Katie Stith put a charge into one but the ball was caught at the fence in left.

San Jose State got something going in the seventh as Sarah Taylor and Alyssa Sulay had back-to-back singles with one out. That chased Darby as the Pack brought Holverson on. The junior got out of the jam with a ground ball and a strikeout to send the game to extra innings.

Alex Stange’s RBI single in 10th ended game two as San Jose State took the 1-0 victory.

Holverson (23-8) took the hard-luck loss in game two.