The Grand Canyon University softball team wrapped up play at the Red Dirt Classic in St. George, Utah by defeating Southern Utah by a final score of 7-3. Sunday's win moves the Antelopes record to 2-3 on the young 2014 season.
"Overall we played well in four out of the five games and the kids really felt good about the tournament and feel like they belong here," said head coach Ann Pierson. "Our energy level was very high throughout all of the games and I couldn't be more proud of the effort our girls gave."
Grand Canyon opened up the scoring in the third, when Camree Wartman scored on a Lauren Regester single. Later in the inning, pitcher Stephanie Pesqueira helped her own cause, cracking a grand slam over the left field fence to give GCU a 5-0 lead. The damage wasn't done, as Haley Walker hit an infield single, scoring Kelsey Barak and pushing the lead to 6-0.
Pesqueira's monster day at the plate wasn't over, as she smacked a double to left field in the fifth, scoring Kylie Shull, who was on second after hitting a two-bagger of her own earlier in the frame.
Pesqueira got the win in the circle, striking out four and giving up just one run in five innings of work. Freshman Taylor Nowlin hurled the final two innings for the 'Lopes, picking up a strikeout and allowing just one earned run.
Pesqueira finished a perfect 2-for-2 in the box and drove in five runs on the day. Barak and Kayla Henry also had two hits apiece for GCU.
"Pesky threw a great game and had a huge day at the plate, hitting a grand slam," added Pierson. "We had a lot of timely hits, which led to a big third inning for us."
Sunday's match-up will not be the lone time the Thunderbirds and 'Lopes square off this season, as Southern Utah will travel to Phoenix for the GCU Invitational Feb. 21-23.
GCU will be back on the diamond Thursday, when they travel south for a contest with the University of Arizona. The 'Lopes will stay in Tucson for the weekend, competing in the Hillenbrand Invitational.
"We have a lot of things to work on and will get back to work this week in preparation for next weekend," Pierson concluded. "Our girls are excited to play against some of the top teams in the country."
Fans can find tournament updates and a complete recap from each day of the invitational at www.gculopes.com.
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