Byu softball proved to have ample firepower in another double-header split at the second day of play in the Red Desert Classic Friday. Despite posting nine runs, the Cougars lost their first game to Nevada 10-9, but came back swinging their way to a 13-5 victory over East Carolina.
“We are hitting really well and it’s nice to split today,” BYU head coach Gordon Eakin said. “However, in the young season we just seem to keep beating ourselves. If we stop giving up walks and play some solid defense we could easily be 4-0 right now. So we need to hit better spots with our pitches and play better defense.”
McKenzie St. Clair led the offensive charge for the Cougars, batting 5-for-7 on the day with one home run and five RBIs. St. Clair’s supporting cast included Sydney Broderick who batted .333 and posted four RBIs, and Ashley Thompson who contributed with four RBIs while hitting 3-for-8.
BYU vs Nevada
Nevada jumped out ahead of BYU in the first two innings of play, scoring two in the first. After a pair of walks and a single, the Wolfpack had the bases loaded. Another walk and a BYU error allowed Nevada to extend its lead over the Cougars 5-0.
McKenna Bull held the Wolfpack scoreless in the third, which led into a huge momentum shift in favor of the Cougars.
A single from St. Clair and a home run from Coco Taualli drew first blood for the Cougars, narrowing the lead 5-2. Gordy Bravo also reached base due to a Wolfpack error and was then brought home on a two-run homer from Carly Duckworth, scratching Nevada’s lead down to just one run.
Nevada put up another run in the fifth, but the Cougars responded in the bottom of the inning with two more runs, tying up the score 6-6.
Bull kept the Wolfpack from scoring in the top of the fifth and BYU added fuel to the fire leading off with a single from Megan Arnold. A couple of walks later, the bases were loaded for Thompson, who singled, bringing two more Cougars home. Broderick sacrificed out to left-field to bring Ashlee Robinson home, extending the cougar’s lead to 9-6.
Nevada put two on base to start the sixth inning, before Bull was relieved by Katie Manuma. Nevada continued to battle back however, taking advantage of two errant throws. They posted four runs in the sixth, regaining the lead 10-9.
BYU was able to get two players on base in the remaining innings, but never scored again.
BYU vs East Carolina
Thompson started off strong for the Cougars, retiring the first three East Carolina batters. The Cougars scored their first two runs after drawing a pair of walks and capitalizing on a pair of wild pitches. A single from St. Clair brought in Duckworth from third base, giving the Cougars a 2-0 lead in the first inning.
The Pirates stepped up their play in the third inning, tying the game with two runs, off of a double and a BYU throwing error. However, the Cougars responded quickly, putting two runners on base due to a Pirate error and St. Clair drawing a walk. Thompson then singled, bringing Manuma across the plate. Broderick stepped up and hit her first career hit, batting home Thompson and St. Clair. The Cougars led 5-2.
East Carolina put its bats to work in the fourth inning and scored two runs off of three singles and a double, and a third run off of another BYU error. However, the Cougars struck back with Taualii drawing a walk, and Bell and Duckworth singling to load the bases. Manuma brought home one Cougar with a single and St. Clair batted home two more off of a double to right-center. Thompson and Broderick batted in the fourth and fifth runs of the inning, giving BYU a 10-5 lead.
Duckworth and Bell both scored in the fifth inning to give the Cougars a 12-5 lead, and St. Claire sealed the deal, crossing home plate in the sixth, beating East Carolina 13-5.
BYU finishes the Red Desert Classic against the University of Texas at Arlington on Saturday at 11 a.m. MST.
For a complete roster, stats and schedule, visit http://www.byucougars.com.