By Legran Akana
SAN DIEGO – The No. 3 Cougar women”s softball team fell 3-1 to the No. 1 seeded San Diego Aztecs during their second game rematch on Saturday, May 10, at the MWC pre-championship game.
After beating the No. 4 seeded Utah Utes 7-4 on Friday, May 9, the Cougars went into Saturday”s tournament play determined to win their softball match up against the Aztecs.
“It was a really good competitive game, and we finished off strong in the tournament,” said BYU head coach Gordon Eakin. “They just seemed to get a couple of breaks that we didn”t.”
After the Cougars exciting 2-1 win over the tournament host Aztecs in their first game, the Cougars fell short in claiming their championship game spot against the No. 2 seeded Colorado State Rams.
BYU”s senior pitcher Cynthia Fallowfield hit a well-needed home run over the left field line in game one that contributed to the Cougar”s win.
Freshman BYU pitcher Brooke Boyce also contributed a great deal in her outstanding pitching in the first game.
“We played very hard and with a lot of heart,” Boyce said.
In the second game, the Aztecs began with a quick 1-0 lead in the first inning as San Diego junior second baseman Joann Figueroa led off with a single. She was later able to score off a Cougar error.
BYU got on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth inning with BYU sophomore catcher Lauren Watson reaching base on a single and advancing to second on senior outfielder Brooke Cadiente”s single to right. Watson then scored on an error by Aztec shortstop Bianca Cruz, tying the score at one.
Both Cadiente and Watson joined the All-MWC Tournament team for their outstanding performance throughout the tournament.
The Aztecs put the game away in it”s half of the fourth inning when Figueroa doubled in teammates Jennifer Funk and Bridgette Caron to make the score 3-1.
The Cougars MWC Co-Player of the Year Oli Keohohou faced up with the MWC freshman and pitcher of the year Celena Valasquez to battle it out in the end. With Keohohou at bat with two outs and two on base, Keohohou popped her hit just short of the home run zone in centerfield.
Velasquez held BYU down for the rest of the game to earn her 15th win of the season.
“We had quite a bit of hits, but they just weren”t timely,” Watson said. “Their pitching was on and was hard to stop.”
The Cougars (36-16) now wait to see if they will be able to receive an anticipated at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament to be announced Sunday, May 11, at 8 p.m. on ESPN News.
“I don”t think were done this year yet,” Boyce said. “We”re looking forward to an NCAA Tournament at-large bid.”
In Saturday”s championship game, the Rams upset the Aztecs 3-1 receiving an automatic NCAA Tournament birth.
The NCAA Softball Tournament will begin later this month. The Rams will be seated in the tournament according to the various standings and performances of other teams throughout the nation.