BYU softball went 3-1 in its home-opening weekend against the Oklahoma State University Cowgirls and the Utah Valley University Wolverines. The Cougars swept their three-game series against OSU (2-1, 10-2, 10-2) but were crushed by UVU (13-0).
BYU is now 20-8 on the season. McKenna Bull, Ashley Thompson and Arianna Paulson each pitched a win against OSU, and each made an appearance in the final loss to UVU. BYU had four home runs on the weekend, including the first in Alexa Strid’s college career.
“We played really good softball against a really good Oklahoma State team, and then we didn’t show up,” BYU head coach Gordon Eakin said. “It was that simple. For us to be a good team, we need to learn to not have emotional collapses like that.”
Bailey Moore’s no-hitter helped the Wolverines win at BYU for the first time ever.
It looked like the Cougars had a tough weekend ahead of them when the Cowgirls took an early lead 1-0 off a sacrifice fly in the top of the first. BYU held OSU with stellar pitching from Bull and an RBI from Thompson in the bottom of the fourth that tied the game at 1-1. Sydney Broderick hit the team’s final RBI in the bottom of the sixth that allowed Mercedes O’Connor to score and the Cougars to win 2-1.
BYU’s momentum carried into Friday’s game, and the Cougars won in five innings due to the eight-run lead rule. The Cougars scored their first five runs in the bottom of the second, and the Cowgirls responded with one run in the next inning. BYU extended the lead to 8-1 in the bottom of the fourth as Strid hit an RBI double and Coco Tauali’i hit a two-run RBI but was called out at second. OSU scored another run due to an error by Thompson in the fifth, but Strid hit her first career home run in the bottom of the inning. O’Connor followed with a walk-off RBI that finished the game 10-2.
“Both teams played great in the first game; we just happened to catch fire with the bats in game two, and Ashley Thompson did a great job for us on the mound,” Eakin said.
BYU beat Oklahoma State by the eight-run rule again in the final game of the series Saturday afternoon and scored in every inning but the third. Broderick hit an early RBI in the bottom of the first to lead the Cowgirls 1-0. Tauali’i’s third home run of the season and Bell’s RBI in the second increased the lead to 3-0. OSU scored once in the top of the third, but the Cougars hit a stride in the fourth and fifth to extend the lead to 8-1. Paulson walked an OSU batter in the top of the sixth, giving up a run to the Cowgirls. But Thompson hit a walk-off, two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth, and the Cougars won 10-2.
BYU didn’t fare well against UVU, as the Cougars were on the losing end of a no-hitter in the weekend’s final match-up. Bull returned as the starting pitcher, but the Wolverines stole a five-run lead in the top of the first with an RBI and a grand slam. UVU added two more runs in the second inning to lead 7-0, and Paulson entered the game to pitch in the top of the third. Two strikeouts kept the Wolverines from earning any more runs that inning. But UVU wasn’t finished and scored six more runs by the top of the fifth inning, three of which were allowed on walks by Paulson and Thompson, who came in to pitch during the top of the fifth. After another scoreless at-bat for the Cougars, the game finished 13-0 in five innings.
“The batters in the first game (on Saturday) were less aggressive,” Paulson said. “And we had a lot more energy last night than today.”
Eakin said it was great for the team to be back home, regardless of the final loss. BYU softball will face Weber State University Tuesday in Ogden and won’t return for another home game until April 10.