BYU softball wins two more at home

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The BYU softball team faced Southern Utah Tuesday, beating the Thunderbirds in both games, 8-0 and 6-4.

The Cougars scored first with one run in the bottom of the fourth. With bases loaded and two outs, Messerschmidt came up big on a 2-2 pitch, singling to second base to bring in the first run of the game and only her fourth run of the season.

BYU continued the run in the bottom of the fifth. With bases loaded for the third time in the game, sophomore Ashlee Brawley got her bat on the ball to bring in one run off an error by the shortstop. Senior Krista Hicks then came in to pinch-hit, smashing the ball to left field to bring in another run.

The slappers came up big in the inning, singling one after another to bring in the sixth run of the game.

Senior Stacie Toney next singled to bring in two more runs and end the game early for the Cougars by a score of 8-0.

Junior pitcher Hannah Howell earned her 11th win of the season, giving up only six hits with five strikeouts. Offensively, Toney went 3-for-4 in the game with one RBI, while Messerschmidt added four more hits and an RBI.

“I went in the game with a newfound confidence,” Messerschmidt said of her success at the plate. “I enjoyed myself instead of putting pressure on myself.”

In Game 2 of the doubleheader, SUU attacked first, putting together a double and a single to bring in the first run in the top of the second.

The Cougars had to wait until the bottom of the third to earn that run back. Senior Delaney Willard hit her 13th home run of the season for her first hit of the day to bring in three runs.

The T-birds didn’t go down easily, though. In the top of the fourth, SUU rallied to score two runs on two hits while also taking advantage of two walks issued by Cougar pitcher Tori Almond to even the score at 3-3.

BYU fought back in the bottom of the fifth. With runners on first and second, Brawley took an outside pitch to right field, hitting in the go-ahead run.

Howell came in to pitch for the Cougars in the top of the sixth to relieve Almond.

Dugas led off the bottom of the sixth with a double to left field, followed by a bunt single off the bat of Messerschmidt for her sixth hit of the day. Both came in to score in the inning, bringing the score to 6-3 in favor of the Cougars.

After giving up one run to SUU in the top of the seventh, Howell and the Cougar defense played out of a jam with the bases loaded to win the game 6-4.

Almond earned the win in the game, with Howell picking up her seventh-career save to tie former Cougar pitcher Paige Affleck for the most saves in BYU history.

“It’s pretty cool,” Howell said of her record. “Saves aren’t easy to come by so I’ll take it.”

Messerschmidt went 2-for-3 in the game while Willard had one hit and four RBIs on the game.

Willard had both a home run and a squeeze bunt in the game. She said she just wants the team to win and she’ll do anything to help the team do that.

“I want the team to win and I don’t care about me personally,” Willard said. “I squeezed, we got the run, and that’s all that matters.”

With the two wins, BYU lengthens its winning streak to 29 games at home. Head coach Gordon Eakin credits the team for this success.

“We’ve always been good,” Eakin said. “Good teams play well at home and we’ve always had strong, high-quality teams. We’re tough to beat here.”

The Cougars will look to earn three more wins at home this weekend in a WAC series against Hawaii on Friday and Saturday.

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