The Cougars lost their last two games of the Easton Desert Classic Saturday despite scoring 16 runs in total against Nevada and Minnesota.
“We saw some good things today,” BYU head coach Gordon Eakin said. “After our effort yesterday, we asked the girls to give us a better effort and to play with energy and heart. The result isn’t what we wanted, but the effort and the heart was there.”
Ashley Thompson led the Cougars batting 3-for-4 with four RBIs against Nevada. Katie Manuma also pulled her weight batting .500 on the day, and scoring two runs with one RBI. Coco Tauali’i contributed 2-for-5 at bat, also scoring two runs and batting in two fellow Cougars.
BYU demonstrated the ability to bat its way around the bases, as it posted the most runs of any team against Minnesota this season.
“It was a great effort to score the most earned runs of the season off of the veteran pitcher from Minnesota, [Sara] Moulton,” Eakin said. “I feel good that we can play against the top teams in the country and score runs on them.”
BYU vs. Nevada
Nevada drew first blood, with one run in the first inning. BYU came right back and Tauali’i doubled with a shot past the Nevada shortstop. Duckworth advanced her another base and finally Thompson hit her home.
Nevada tacked up more runs in the second partially because of BYU’s pitching. The Wolf Pack hit a two-run homer and then walked in two more. They extended the lead to 5-1. In the bottom of the frame, Manuma bunted her way to first and later scored, narrowing the lead to 5-2.
BYU held Nevada scoreless in the third and the fourth. Ashlee Robinson and Lauren Bell served up a pair of singles, and after Tauali’i reached first on an error, the bases were loaded for Thompson. She then singled, bringing home Robinson and Bell, and Tauali’i also scored on a throwing error. BYU scored once more when Manuma hit Thompson home from third. BYU led 5-6.
Nevada tied it up in the fifth with a solo home run. However, the Cougars clawed back with a double from Duckworth that brought Lacey Millett-Hofstedt and Robinson home. Thompson then floated one out to right field, scoring Duckworth and giving BYU a 6-9 lead with two innings left.
Manuma came out to close for the Cougars with runners on first and second in the sixth, but Nevada scored four runs, regaining the lead 10-9. In the seventh inning the Wolf Pack’s bats heated-up, adding 10 more runs in a single inning. BYU brought home one more run in the bottom of the seventh, to finalize the score 20-10.
BYU vs. Minnesota
BYU pushed out strong in its second game of the day with a pair of singles that put Bell and Manuma on base, and a RBI double that scored the Cougars first run. Mckenzie St. Clair reached first on an error, and Manuma and Tauali’i scored, giving BYU a 3-0 lead.
Minnesota powered back in the bottom of the first, loaded the bases and then drew four walks to gain the lead 4-3. In the bottom of the second, the Golden Gophers added two more runs. In the top of the fourth, the Cougars had runners on first and third, but couldn’t succeed in bringing them home.
Minnesota batted its way to a 10-3 lead in the fifth, hitting three singles and a homer. The Cougars loaded the bases with their first three batters. Broderick then scored on a fielder’s choice and Manuma singled, followed by a walk to Tauali’i that brought another Cougar home. St. Claire batted in the last run, cutting the lead to 10-6. Minnesota extended the lead again in the sixth 13-6.
Next week BYU will begin the Mary Nutter Classic in Cathedral City, Calif. squaring-off against Virginia on Thursday at 10 a.m. PST.