VANCOUVER, BC – Following an early morning rain delay, the UBC Thunderbirds and College of Idaho Yotes traveled to Collings Field at Nobel Park for a single game on Friday. The sole contest was won by the visiting Yotes 6-2.
The visitors attacked UBC’s starting pitcher Shelby Kempel early, scoring the first two runs of the game on a Kaily Christensen homer. Aggressive plate appearances showcased the Yotes’ dangerous offense, but Kempel was able to escape the inning without further difficulty.
Shae Sever entered the game for Kempel after walking twice in the second inning to force a routine pop-up for the second out of the inning. Christensen then moved back into the batting box and sent a 2-RBI double to left center, making the Yotes lead 4-0.
“I was happy with how we finally got our sticks working a few innings later,” the UBC head coach said. Gord Collings. “Defensively we played well, Shelby came in and did a great job. They got good hits all game long, they’re a really good hitting team. I was happy with how we reacted after our debut.”
The ‘Birds started winning battles at home plate against Yotes ace Katelyn Wilfert late in the fourth inning, as Mia Valcke started with a double from left field. by Kaitlyn Kim the patience of the plateau then drew a step to put two runners on the base. With one out, Valcke and Kim executed a double stea, pressing closer to home. Wilfert was up for the challenge though, as she closed out the inning by first forcing a pop-up and then retiring the last batter, leaving two ‘Birds on base.
The Yotes added a run in the top of the fifth inning from Lexi Navarrete, who hit an RBI single to make the game 5-0.
UBC got on the board late in the sixth inning, as Olivia Malesku started the race by reaching first on a throwing error. Added more speed on the base path, Gabby Freer entered the game as a pinch racer. Valcke pushed a single to the left, scoring his second hit of the game. Freer then stole third base and advanced home on a Yotes throwing error. The visitors were able to earn two more outs before Emma Dorval powered a single to left field to further reduce the lead, now sitting just 5-2.
The Yotes added another insurance run in the top of the seventh inning from Tanner Higgins, who drove an RBI single down the middle, 6-2.
The T-Birds were unable to beat Wilfert in the bottom of the seventh inning, where she closed the game with three straight outs for a comprehensive win, improving her record to 12-3.
“We might consider changing the order a bit for tomorrow,” Collings added. “Let’s see if we can get our sticks working. She’s one of the best pitchers in the league so it’s going to be tough anyway, but I was happy with what the girls did today.”
Saturday morning’s double-header kicks off at 11:00 a.m. (PT), followed shortly after by Game 2.