The BYU softball team went 2–3 at the San Diego classic this weekend falling to San Diego State, Fresno State and Long Beach State, but held on for wins against Boise State and New Mexico.
The Cougars fell 9–1 in just five innings against the Aztecs in their first game of the tournament. Freshman Marissa Bravo led the Cougars offensively against San Diego State with two lead-off hits, followed by JC Clayton who also had a hit to stretch her hitting streak to a career-high 15 games. Carly Duckworth and Katie Manuma made their first appearances on the mound this year to relieve Hannah Howell in an inning apiece. Clayton said they just recently started throwing at Monday practice due to injuries in the regular pitching staff.
“The last time I pitched full-force was my senior year of high school,” Manuma said. “I’ll always love pitching and I still need more practice, but anything I can to help my team and the pitching staff, I’ll do.”
On day two, the team defeated the Boise State Broncos 8–1. Howell had a game-closing strikeout that gave Tori Almond her third win of the season.The BYU offense totaled for 10 hits, led once again by Clayton who went 3–4 and Manuma who had two RBIs.
The Cougars struggled in game two on Friday against Fresno State and gave up three runs and three errors in the 5–4 loss. Despite its messy defense, the team held the lead going into the bottom of the seventh inning, but was defeated after a walk-off homerun by the Bulldogs.
The Cougars came back strong Saturday with a 6–1 victory over the Lobos and got started early with a run in the second inning. The offense then had a strong fourth with a double by Ashlee Brawley Robinson to give the Cougars a three-run advantage. Howell threw her first save this season that left the Lobos hit-less and allowed two more Cougars to cross the plate for the victory.
“That was a nice win to have against the Lobos,” Clayton said. “We out hit them and played error-less ball. Our pitching was great and Hannah came in and threw well and shut them down.”
BYU suffered a rough 12–3 loss against Long Beach State that included four Cougar errors and 12 runners left on base, with three 49er homeruns and seven hits. Mylee Davis stepped up with two hits in the game matched by Manuma who had a left-field bomb for a three runs to tie it in the third. The Cougars got sloppy in the fourth to give up eight runs total. The 49ers ended the game early with a double and a homerun with two outs in the sixth.
“We struggled again with hitting,” Bravo said. “We got a lot of runners on base, but we just couldn’t score them.”
Next weekend the Cougars will head to Florida where they will play in the USF Under Armour Showcase, their last tournament of the season before conference play.