BYU Softball goes 2-3 in first tournament

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Sophomore Ashley Thompson prepares to swing at the incoming pitch.

BYU softball went 2-3 at the Kajikawa Classic in games against University of Virginia (W 5-4) , San Jose State (L 8-9), University of New Mexico (W 2-0), University of California, Berkeley (L 4-12) and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (L 1-3). The Cougars’ first tournament of the 2015 season took place over three days in Tempe, Ariz.

BYU competed against Virginia and San Jose State on day one. The Cougars scored first against the Virginia Cavaliers with three runs in the bottom of the third inning from Gordy Bravo, Lauren Bell and Mercedes O’Connor. An error by Virginia in the bottom of the sixth allowed McKenzie St. Clair to score one more for the Cougars, putting them up 4-0. Virginia’s Allison Davis hit a grand slam in the top of the seventh inning to tie the game 4-4. But BYU rallied in the seventh and junior Coco Tauali’i’s walkoff double allowed St. Clair to score to win the game 5-4.

The Cougars faced San Jose State later that day but couldn’t repeat their success, losing by one run.

“The emotional first game with Virginia hitting a grand slam in the seventh led us to a slower start in the second game against San Jose State,” BYU head coach Gordon Eakin said.

BYU headed into the top of the fifth against the San Jose Spartans with a 4-3 lead. The Spartans picked it up in the fifth and sixth innings to take a 9-4 lead, and the Cougars never fully recovered. RBIs from freshman Madison Merrell and Broderick closed the gap to 9-8, but the game finished soon after with a groundout to the pitcher.

The BYU softball team went 1-1 again on day two against the New Mexico Lobos and Cal Golden Bears.

“There were positives and negatives again today,” said Eakin. “We played a tough New Mexico team in the first game. We were able to get some timely hitting in the fifth inning and pulled out the win.”

Sophomore pitcher McKenna Bull was vital in the Cougars’ 2-0 shutout against the Lobos, but it was Broderick and Ashley Thompson’s fifth-inning RBIs that sealed the win.

BYU took an early lead 3-0 in the top of the first in their next game against Cal, but the Golden Bears returned it with a grand slam. The Cougars tied it up in the second inning with what would be their last run of the game. Cal took the lead and got up 12-4 by the fifth inning and ended the game early due to the eight-run rule.

The Cougars’ final game came Saturday morning against the Cal Poly Mustangs, where they lost 3-1. The game remained scoreless through the third inning until both teams scored one run in the fourth. The turning point came in the bottom of the fifth, as Cal Poly proceeded to score two runs to take the game, 3-1.

“It was a hard-fought and well-played game,” Eakin said. “We saw things we’ll have to work on. We’ll build on the positives.”

BYU softball will compete again at the Wilson/DeMarini Classic Tournament in Las Vegas. The tournament goes Feb. 12 through Feb. 14, with the Cougars starting off against Hawai’i.

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