The Cougars (33-21,12-2) won their sixth consecutive conference championship this weekend with a three-game sweep of Saint Mary’s (23-27, 8-7). The Cougars took the win with a score of 14-2 in the first game, 5-1 in the second and 3-0 in their final conference game.
“It was nice to be able to finish out the season with a sweep today, certainly on senior day with Tori Almond throwing a three-hitter,” said BYU head coach Gordon Eakin. “It was a very successful day, and I am grateful for the seniors and this team for representing BYU the way that they have.”
Senior Tori Almond (10-6) carried the Cougars through their final weekend of conference play. Almond recorded the win in games one and three against Saint Mary’s. She also struck out seven batters, allowed two walks and forced Saint Mary’s to strand six runners on base throughout the final game.
The Cougar offense had a quiet start to game three but woke up in the sixth inning with a single by Lauren Bell to the pitcher. The bases were loaded after Mercedes O’Connor was hit by a pitch and Katie Manuma walked. Then back-to-back singles by McKenzie St. Clair and Carly Duckworth put the Cougars up 3-0 going into the final inning.
At the end of the third game, five seniors from the team were honored for their hard work and dedication. Katie Manuma, Tori Almond, Carly Duckworth, Jenna Goar, and Ashlee Robinson ceremoniously walked across the field with their families and loved ones to wrap up their final conference game as BYU Cougars.
“I’m tickled for our seniors, but I’m more tickled for our entire team,” Eakin said. “They all deserve this championship.”
With this win against St. Mary’s the Cougars became the first team in NCAA history to win four straight conference championships from four different conferences. The seniors from this year have won championships in the Mountain West Conference (2011), the Western Athletic Conference (2012) and the Pacific Coast Softball Conference (2013) along with their new WCC title.
Eakin said it’s a pretty distinctive accomplishment to take four separate championships in different conferences and that these seniors may be the only ones in history to do that.
The Cougars have dominated their conference games, but their season isn’t over yet. They will now move on to regionals to continue their pursuit of a nation title in the Women’s College World Series. ESPNU will host the Division I softball selection show on May 11 at 8 p.m. Mountain Standard Time. During the selection show the Cougars will find out which regional tournament they will compete in for the national title.