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Idaho State is now 9-3 in Big Sky Conference play. Box Score 1 | Box Score 2
POCATELLO, Idaho- Coming into this weekend, the Idaho State softball team knew first place in the Big Sky Conference was at stake against Portland State at Miller Ranch Stadium. After dropping game 1 of the series on Saturday, the Bengals came back Sunday and beat the Vikings 16-13 in 10 innings and 6-4 in nine innings. All three games went into extra innings.
Game 2, which was a continuation from Saturday when it was suspended due to darkness, was won on a walk-off homer from Vicky Galasso and Courtney Dial hit a two-run walk off home run to lift the Vikings to the series win in the final game of the series.
Idaho State is now 9-3 in league play (22-19 overall) and in a tie for first place in Big Sky play with Portland State, who is also 9-3.
“What we did today was truly team,” Idaho State coach Julie Wright said. “It was the biggest win for this team, us as a coaching staff, our program, our alumni and our fans. These kids played with tremendous heart, excitement and for the love of the game. You are not going to see that in a lot of teams but my team does that every day.”
Idaho State hit seven home runs in the final two games and hit .338 on the day. ISU rallied from deficits in both games, trailing 5-0 and 12-7 in game 2 and 4-3 after six innings in the final game.
“As long as we have outs we have a chance,” Wright said. “My team believes in their ability to hit and we have a ton of fight.”
When game 2 picked up on Sunday it started in the ninth inning with the score tied at 12. Each team scored a run in the ninth inning. ISU's run came on an RBI single from Maddy Hickman.
In the bottom of the 10th with two outs, Amanda Fitzsimmons was hit by a pitch and Katelyn Marquez walked, setting up Galasso's walk off home run.Bailey Foster earned the win by pitching the final 5.2 innings and striking out five. Foster also went the first three innings in the third game.
“That kid was tremendous,” Wright said. “I texted her last night and told her I was proud of her and everything she said in her text back to me made me know she was ready to go. To come in against the No. 1 team in the conference and do what she did was tremendous.”
In the final game of the series, Idaho State jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning, thanks to a two-run home run by Vicky Galasso.
The Vikings tied the game at two in the fourth and the Bengals regained the lead at 3-2 in the fifth on a leadoff home run by Dial. Portland State scored two runs in the sixth inning but a solo home run in the seventh inning by Fitzsimmons tied the game at four.
Dial hit her walk off home run in the ninth inning with one out and Marquez on second base.
“She is a good hitter,” Wright said on Dial. “She has had a rough year at the plate but that kid can hit. When she makes up her mind she gets it done. I was just proud of her. She executed it brilliantly. She has that power in her.”
In the final two games Hickman was 5-9 with two RBI, Galasso was 4-8 with three home runs, eight RBI and scored five runs. Fitzsimmons had three hits, four RBI and one home run and Dial had three hits, two home runs and four RBI. Breakwell also had three hits on the day. Every Bengal that played had at least two hits in the final two games.
“They haven't felt like a pitcher has controlled them in a really long time,” Wright said.
Idaho State returns the field on April 24 for a 4 p.m. contest at Utah State. The Bengals then host North Dakota on April 26-27 for a three-game series that begins at 2 p.m. on the 26th.