TUCSON, Ariz. - Feb. 19 - Southern Utah University dropped both of its final two games at the Hillenbrand Invitational on Sunday afternoon, falling to North Dakota 6-1 and then losing a run-rule contest to the University of Arizona, 8-0. The losses drop the T-Birds to 2-6 on the year.
In the first game of the day, North Dakota jumped on the Thunderbirds early, scoring four runs on four hits in the first inning. Southern Utah had runners on the corners in the bottom half of the inning, but a double play ended the frame without any Thunderbird runs.
SUU finally broke through in the bottom of the fourth inning on a Kelsey Bryant home run over the left field fence. Southern Utah threatened again in the bottom of the fifth with runners on first and second, but were unable to come away with runs following a ground ball that ended the inning.
North Dakota extended its lead to 6-1 in the seventh on a solo home and an RBI single. The game ended when Thunderbird batters were retired in order in the bottom half of the frame.
SUU starting pitcher Megan Gurski was given the loss, throwing 7.0 innings where she allowed six runs (all earned) on 15 hits and three walks with three strikeouts.
In the second game, Arizona used a five-run fourth inning while also logging a run in the second and two runs in the third to capture the win. Southern Utah recorded each of its three hits during the game in the top of the fifth, including back-to-back hits by Kadi Henderson and Haylee Hoch to begin the frame. However, the runners in scoring position never materialized into runs as a final ground ball with the bases loaded ended the contest.
Danielle Axe suffered the loss in the circle for the T-Birds, throwing 4.0 innings and allowing eight runs (all earned) on nine hits and three walks.
Southern Utah will play two more games tomorrow, wrapping up its eight-game stretch in four days, when the Thunderbirds host Utah State in St. George. The doubleheader with the Aggies is scheduled to begin at Noon with both games set to be played at Dixie State College. Fans can follow the games via live stats anticipated to be available online at www.suutbirds.com.