ST. GEORGE, Utah – (March 2) Seattle University softball used a season-high 16 hits to beat Southern Utah, 12-6, on the first day of the Red Desert Classic in St. George, Utah. The Redhawks rallied late against Montana, but eventually fell, 7-6 in eight innings.

”We fought hard in both games today,” said Coach Geoff Hirai. “We have a few things to clean up moving forward.”

SU trailed Southern Utah, 6-5, through four innings, but Carley Nance entered to shut down the Thunderbird offense and the Redhawk bats continued to produce, breaking the contest open.

Alyson Matriotti sparked a two-out rally in the top of the fifth. She hit an infield single, stole second base, and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Nicole Bolasky followed with a walk. After Bolasky stole second, Ally Choate brought in both runs with a single up the middle, giving SU a 7-6 advantage.

In the bottom of the fifth, Nance stopped SUU with a lineout and two strikeouts.

A Savannah Loomis base hit got things going in the sixth. Erika Rodgers pinch-ran for her fellow senior and promptly stole second base. Breanna Timmons laced a double to right centerfield to drive in Rodgers and make it 8-6. Nance followed by striking out the side in the bottom of the sixth, needing just 13 pitches to retire the Thunderbirds.

The Redhawks looked to break open the game in the seventh. Matriotti reached on an error with one out. Bolasky then singled to put runners at the corners. After Bolasky stole second, Choate hit a grounder to first, allowing Matriotti to score. Madison Cathcart then blasted a home run to right, putting SU ahead, 11-6. A Rodgers single continued the rally and Maddy Kristjanson capped a standout effort with a double down the leftfield line, scoring Rodgers for a 12-6 margin.

Nance was there to close it out, earning a pair of flyouts and a groundout to end the game.

Seattle U tallied a season-high 16 hits in the victory. Eight different Redhawks had a hit, as Bolasky and Kristjanson both logged three hits. Bolasky went 3-4 with three runs and a walk. Kristjanson posted three hits, including two doubles and a pair of RBIs. Choate notched two hits, driving in four runs and scoring one herself. Cathcart had two hits, including a homer and three RBIs. Matriotti added two hits and a walk, while Loomis collected two hits.

Shianne Smith got the win, throwing one inning and giving up a run. Nance threw the last three frames, putting down all nine Thunderbirds she faced.

Southern Utah led, 3-0, after one inning, but the Redhawks were ready to answer in the top of the second. Cherise Silvan walked to lead off and with one out, Matriotti doubled, plating Silvan. Bolasky singled to left and stole second, placing runners at second and third. A Choate sacrifice fly brought in Matriotti, making it 3-2.

SUU added a run in the third, but Seattle U took its first lead with a three-run fourth frame. Matriotti drew a walk and Choate singled. A Cathcart base knock scored a run and then Loomis doubled to left, tying the game at 4. Kristjanson followed with an RBI double to give SU the lead. The Thunderbirds had a reply in their half of the fourth, though, going back ahead, 6-5.

Nance was stellar at the start of the Montana game as well, keeping the Grizzlies off the scoreboard for the first three frames. In the top of the fourth, Kristjanson doubled to lead off the inning. A Susanne Morris sac fly gave SU a 1-0 edge. Montana answered with five runs in the bottom of the fourth, however.

In the top of the sixth, the Redhawks rallied again. Kristjanson reached on an error and Timmons singled. A Silvan base hit loaded the bases with one out. Morris came through with a single through the left side, bringing in a pair of runs. Silvan made it a one-run deficit, scoring on a wild pitch. Smith worked around a single and a walk in the sixth, getting a strikeout to end the threat.

Trailing 5-4 going into the seventh, Seattle U needed to find a tying run. Choate opened with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. With two outs, the freshman stole third base. Kristjanson then got aboard via error, allowing Choate to score and make it 5-all. Smith struck out two Grizzlies in the seventh, forcing extra innings.

Kamryn Kanae began the eighth at second base. Morris’ single with one out drove in Kanae, giving SU a 6-5 lead. Montana came back with the tying and winning runs in its half of the eighth, though.

Morris went 3-3 with four RBIs, while Choate had three hits and scored a run. Smith pitched three innings in relief, giving up one hit and no runs. She struck out three batters.

On Saturday, the Redhawks will play two more games. They take on Montana at 11 a.m. Pacific and then Weber State at 1:30 p.m. Pacific.