Cougar softball to face No.11 Hawaii

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The Cougar softball team will face its first ranked team at home since 2008 as Hawaii travels to Provo for a three-game series Friday and Saturday.

The BYU baseball team will also play Friday and Saturday. The two-day event will include a free fireworks show on Friday night and both teams are expecting a big crowd to be there in support.

The BYU softball team is 23-10 and is undefeated this season at home. The Cougars will have to fight to stay undefeated this weekend, as it faces talented Hawaii.

Hawaii sports a record of 30-3, with a record of 5-1 in conference play, after sweeping New Mexico State last weekend to claim the No. 1 spot in the Western Athletic Conference standings. Hawaii lives on its pitching and is third in the country with an ERA of 0.83 on the season. Together, the starting pitchers for the Rainbow Wahine are holding opponents to a batting average of under .175 and are only allowing 1.18 runs per game.

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Delaney Willard has an at bat Tuesday afternoon during the Cougars first game of a double header against Southern Utah University at Gail Miller Field.
BYU does have experience this season with multiple ranked teams, having played No. 1 Florida, No. 5 Arizona State, No. 14 Texas A&M, No. 21 Oklahoma State and No. 11 Oregon. Though its record against these teams is 2-4, three of its four losses came by a deficit of at least three runs or less. BYU beat Texas A&M and Oregon early on in the season and in both games, BYU was able to get ahead early and hold both teams on the defensive side of the ball.

In its four losses to ranked teams, BYU gave up nine extra-base hits and fell behind early or didn’t put a single run on the board. For BYU to compete with Hawaii, it will need to perform offensively and defensively.

“We need to play well in all three areas of the game: pitching, defense and hitting,” head coach Gordon Eakin said. “We have to play our top-level game and if we can do that, I like our chances. They have great pitching. If we falter on the mound or let their pitching get to our hitters, it’s going to be a challenge to beat them.”

Senior Delaney Willard echoed Eakin when she said the team will have to step up this weekend to beat the Rainbow Wahine.

“We need to pitch well, play defense well and hit,” Willard said. “Hawaii is a good team and if we want to beat them, we need to be on our A game.”

BYU will play on Friday at 6 p.m. MT, with a fireworks show following the game. The Cougars will then play a doubleheader on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. MT and 3:30 p.m. Both Saturday games will be live on BYUtv and all three games will be updated on game tracker.

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