Delaney Willard breaks 17-year-old RBI record

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BYU softball senior Delaney Willard probably expected to perform well at the University of Nevada in the first game of a weekend series against the Wolfpack. What she may not have expected was to break the long-standing RBI record for the Western Athletic Conference or to celebrate with her team about the 8-0 victory where her home run was not the only one.

Willard tied the WAC RBI record during Wednesday’s game against UVU. She did not have to wait long for the tiebreaker–the fourth inning of Friday’s game, in fact–to break the record with a homer which sent teammates JC Clayton and Tiffany Messerschmidt running home. The runs bumped Willard’s single-season record to 80 RBIs, smashing the former record of 77. Before Willard’s performance, the previous record stood for 17 years.

The Wolfpack received a few more surprises in their first-ever face-off against BYU. Sophomore Katie Manuma and senior Krista Hicks both hit home runs during the second inning, putting the Cougars on the board immediately. In the same inning, BYU pulled a double-steal play when Jessica Dugas stole home and Messerschmidt stole second.

Manuma hit another home run during the third inning, resulting in her first multi-homer of the season. The Cougars’ offense put them ahead from the start of the game and finished it in five innings.

Nevada could not respond offensively. Pitcher Hannah Howell tied a career high by striking out eight in only five innings. The Wolfpack never scored.

Coach Gordon Eakin was pleased.

“We had a good pregame session and came out solid,” he said. “I thought pitching, hitting and fielding all went well.”

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