BYU softball went 1-1 against the Southern Utah University Thunderbirds on April 16. The Cougars won the first game but gave up six runs in the last inning of the second game and lost.
“We didn’t play well in either game,” BYU head coach Gordon Eakin said. “We didn’t play as if the games mattered. … We can’t afford to lose again this year.”
The first game remained scoreless through the first five innings. Pitcher McKenna Bull highlighted the Cougars’ strong defense, throwing two strikeouts with bases loaded to end the third inning. The Thunderbirds scored first in the top of the sixth on a solo home run. BYU answered with five runs in the bottom of the sixth. Lauren Bell and Mercedes O’Connor each hit an RBI double, followed by an RBI from Ashley Thompson. SUU threatened the lead and loaded the bases in the top of the seventh, but Bull threw two more consecutive strikeouts that ended the game 5-1.
SUU was the first to score again in game two, hitting in three runs in the top of the second. The Thunderbirds scored again with a solo home run in the third. Sydney Broderick hit a two-RBI single in the bottom of the third to cut SUU’s lead to 4-2. Bull entered the game for Thompson in the top of the fourth but gave up a walk and forced the Thunderbirds’ fifth run.
The Cougars went on a six-run streak with two outs in the bottom of the sixth, led by Coco Tauali’i’s three-run home run. The game-tying homer was Tauali’i’s fifth in the last five games. BYU then loaded the bases with hits from Megan Arnold and Lacey Hofstedt and a walk for Gordy Bravo. Bell and O’Connor each hit RBI doubles, and the Cougars took an 8-5 lead.
The Thunderbirds copied BYU’s success and scored six runs of their own in the top of the seventh. Sara Park hit a grand slam for SUU with two outs in the inning, echoing Tauali’i’is clutch home run. SUU held the Cougars off in the bottom of the seventh and finished the game with an 11-8 win.
“We need to be more consistent,” Eakin said. “A last-ditch effort in the sixth inning just isn’t what we’re looking for. We’re looking for consistency, and we didn’t have it.”
BYU will compete against Utah State University at home Wednesday. The Cougars will then host a three-game series against the University of San Diego April 24–25.