BYU softball: Thompson and Tauali’i help secure sweep of Pacific

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Ari Davis
The BYU softball team waits for Gordy Bravo at home plate after she hit a home run in the game against Pacific. The Cougars went 3-0 in the series against Pacific. (Ari Davis)

Ashley Thompson and Coco Tauali’i led BYU softball to sweep the University of the Pacific Tigers in the teams’ three-game series at home.

Thompson had one home run and six hits on the weekend, including a 5-for-5 batting performance in game two, and Tauali’i hit four home runs and had nine RBI in the series. Saturday’s game marked the second multi-home-run game of her career.

“Coco broke it open,” BYU head coach Gordon Eakin said. “If you look at Coco’s total game, her defense was exceptional this weekend. Offense is great, but she really played well at third base.”

Gordy Bravo set the tone for the series with a solo home run in the Cougars’ first at-bat. BYU didn’t score again until the bottom of the fourth when it added three more. In the fifth, Tauali’i hit a two-run homer, and Lacey Hofstedt scored later on in the same inning. BYU’s defense continued to hold the Tigers off to win the game 7-0.

Thompson set a career record by going 5-for-5 at the plate in the second game. Until last Friday, no BYU softball player had recorded five hits in a game since 2011.

“She had a monster day,” Eakin said. “She said she gave up that run in the top of the sixth so she could hit again.”

Thompson’s RBI-double in the bottom of the first put the Cougars on the board 1-0 before the Cougars really took off in the second. Tauali’i, Thompson and McKenzie St. Clair all hit home runs, scoring six runs total. Bravo and Mercedes O’Connor also added two more runs with RBI-doubles in the eight-run inning to put BYU up 9-0.

Pacific answered with its own two-run homer in the top of the third, but the Cougars added three more in the bottom for a 12-2 lead. The Tigers hit back-to-back home runs in the fourth for a 5-12 score. BYU added another run in the bottom of the fourth, but the Tigers hit yet another home run in the fifth, making the score 6-13. Pacific hit its fifth home run in the sixth to add three more runs, but O’Connor hit her own three-run homer in the sixth. The game finished after the top of the seventh with a 16-9 Cougar win.

“After the game last night we talked about how you can’t allow good teams to come back,” Eakin said. “You have to continue to play hard.”

BYU seemed to take the advice well, as it finished the series with another shutout on Saturday afternoon. Tauali’i kicked off the Cougars’ scoring with a solo home run in the bottom of the second, followed by another run in the bottom of the third. Tauali’i hit another homer in the fourth, this time scoring three runs for a 5-0 lead. O’Connor cleared the bases four batters later with a three-run double, securing the 8-0 win in just five innings.

BYU softball will play in three non-conference home games next week. The Cougars face the Weber State Wildcats Tuesday and the SUU Thunderbirds twice on Thursday at Gail Miller Field.

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