BYU bounces through NCAA bracket

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After beating Mississippi State in nine innings Thursday, BYU softball advanced through the NCAA Eugene Regional with a loss against No. 11 Oregon and a win from the remaining team in the Regional, Portland State.

The bracket is double-elimination, meaning that the Cougars need to beat the Ducks twice more in order to advance to the Super Regional. Under such a victory, BYU would play the winner of the Austin Regional to progress through the bracket.

Coming off a 4-3 win after a nail-biting conclusion against the Bulldogs, the Cougars stumbled in the first half of the game against Oregon. The Ducks put five runs on the board in the third inning alone, leaving the Cougars with a tough attempt at a comeback.

BYU did not give up, however. At the bottom of the fourth, Stacey Toney singled and added an RBI, sending both Tiffany Messerschmidt and Katie Manuma home.

The fifth inning resulted in another run from Oregon, putting the score at 6-2. Messerschmidt walked with bases loaded and Manuma followed suit shortly thereafter, ending the inning with a 6-4 score to the Ducks.

Despite the Cougars’ attempt at aggressive offense, Oregon pitcher Jessica Moore played a 10-strikeout game, getting the Cougars out and keeping them out. The game ended with a BYU loss of 6-4 and sent them to play Portland State for a second chance to advance through the tournament.

The Cougars faced the Ducks without the recently named WAC Player of the Year, Delaney Willard, because she injured her hand in the Mississippi State game. They continued through the tournament without her as well, but still brought a 2-0 win against Portland State.

Toney got a hit that rolled past the pitcher and put BYU on the board. Early in the game, Jessica Dugas hit a double which added an RBI and put one run on the board for the Cougars. Later, Jessica Dugas got a double past the third-baseman, allowing Carly Duckworth to score.

The runs established the 2-0 lead, the game finished at the same score. For the eighth time in a row, the Cougars extend their stay at the tournament by preparing to play the Ducks and thereby advance to the Super Regional.

The Cougar-Duck face-off will take place Saturdayat 3 p.m. ET.

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