BYU scores early to beat UVU before the rains come

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The BYU softball team fought the cold for a rain-shortened 3-1 victory under the lights against UVU on Wednesday night at Gail Miller Field.

The Cougars are 22-1 all-time against the Wolverines and 120-23 against in-state teams. BYU played Southern Utah University last week and won both games against the T-Birds. They will also face Utah State in a three-game WAC series on Friday and Saturday at home.

Junior Hannah Howell took the mound for the Cougars on Wednesday night with a 2.66 ERA and 80 strikeouts on the season.

The first inning was quiet, with no runs scored on no hits for either teams.

Wolverine shortstop Krystin Jachim put UVU on the board in the top of the second inning with a solo home run to center field. The next three Wolverine batters fell to the defense of the Cougar infield. Third baseman Ashlee Brawley, shortstop JC Clayton and second baseman Stacie Toney each recorded outs to end the top of the inning.

The score remained 1-0 until the bottom of the third. Freshman Shelbi Everett started off the inning with a walk, then moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by senior Jessica Dugas and an error by the UVU first baseman. Senior Tiffany Messerschmidt then moved both runners to load the bases on a bunt single.

Senior Delaney Willard took advantage of the RBI opportunity and hit a pitch up the middle to score two runs. One more run scored on an error by the center fielder to make the score 3-1 in favor of the Cougars.

BYU loaded the bases once again in the inning but failed to bring in more runs.

The Cougars and Wolverines played another inning and a half until the rain started pouring down on Miller Park. A rain delay was called and all of the BYU coaches and players braved the rain to help pull out the tarp to cover the field.

After about thirty minutes and the rain still coming down, the game was called and BYU was given the 3-1 win because they were ahead going into the bottom of the fifth.

Hannah Howell gave up one run on three hits with six strikeouts and no walks. Offensively, Messerschmidt went 2-for-2 in the game and has gone 11-for-13 in her last five games. Willard went 1-for-1 with two walks and two RBIs on the game.

Brawley shone defensively for the Cougars with five assists and a perfect fielding percentage. Brawley, a transfer from the University of Arizona, was primarily a shortstop for the Wildcats but transitioned to third base to fill the empty position for the Cougars.

“It’s a little bit different than short but I’m on the field and that’s all that matters,” Brawley said of her switch to third base. “[Hannah] relies on me to make plays and fielding ground balls is routine.”

Head coach Gordon Eakin said the team will need defense and pitching to make an impact on the rest of the season.

“Tonight, our pitching was good and Hannah rebounded well from a mistake,” Eakin said. “I thought our defense, especially Ashlee Brawley, was stellar. They hit some hard balls that Ashlee made great plays on to keep them from generating rallies. So I think pitching and defense is going to be the key to our success.”

BYU will play Utah State on Friday and Saturday, depending on weather conditions. Check the BYU athletic website for more information.

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