Local athletes thrive at Utah State


LOGAN—Senior outfielder Emily Hunter (Centerville) was the leading batter for Utah State as the Aggies posted a 2-4 record last week with a 2-0 win at Pacific, followed by a 1-4 record at the UC Davis-hosted Aggie Invitational.

USU began the week with a 2-0 win at Pacific and a 2-0 win at UC Davis, but went on to fall to Valparaiso (5-4) and Northern Colorado (3-2) in a pair of eight-inning games and closed the tournament in losses to Northern Colorado (3-2) and UC Davis (3-1).

Against Pacific, Hunter went 1-for-3 at the plate. Following an 0-for-2 performance against UC Davis, she batted 3-for-4 against Valparaiso, including her first-career double, and scored one run. Against Northern Colorado, she was 2-of-4 at the plate, while adding two defensive putouts. She hit 1-for-4 in the second game against the Bears and was 0-for-2 in the weekend finale, with one walk and one putout.

On the weekend, Hunter batted .368 (7-of-19), including one double and scored one run, while adding four putouts in the outfield.

Sophomore guard Sam Merrill (Bountiful) guided Utah State to its first appearance in the Mountain West Championship semifinals last week with wins against 10th-seeded Colorado State (76-65) and second-seeded Boise State (78-75), before losing to third-seeded New Mexico (83-68).

Merrill led the Aggies in scoring during the week, averaging 18.7 points per game, while shooting 50.0 percent (19-of-38) from the floor, 45.5 percent (10-of-22) from behind the 3-point line and 88.9 percent (8-of-9) at the free throw line.

In the first round against CSU, Merrill scored 11 points and added four rebounds, three assists and two steals. In the quarterfinals against BSU, Merrill led the Aggies with 28 points, shooting 53.3 percent (8-of-15) from the floor, 70.0 percent (7-of-10) from behind the 3-point line and 83.3 percent (5-of-6) at the free throw line, while adding five rebounds, five assists and one steal.

And in the semifinals against UNM, Merrill led the team again with 17 points and added five assists and three rebounds.

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