BYU softball had dominated the West Coast Conference all season before heading to face the Lions of LMU this weekend. The Lions beat the Cougars both games of the double header on Friday, 6-5 and 8-4. The Cougars hadn’t dropped consecutive games since February and hadn’t lost a conference game all year. The Cougars responded in the third game with a blowout 10-2 victory.
The Cougars battled back from a 5-2 deficit after the third inning in the first game. BYU would only give up one more run and score in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, but the Cougars’ efforts fell just short 6-5. Mercedes O’Connor smashed her fourth home run of the year — a solo shot to left center in the fifth inning. Gordy Bravo and Coco Tauali’i also added RBIs in the loss.
The second game was held scoreless until the bottom of the third, when LMU broke the deadlock with eight runs on five hits and one error. BYU battled back in the top of the fifth with Madison Merrell’s first home run of the season. The Cougars struck again in the seventh on Caitlyn Larsen’s first collegiate home run; but the damage had been done, and BYU fell 8-4.
The third game started quickly for the Cougars, as they jumped out to a 4-0 lead. Tauali’i hit her 11th home run of the year in a three-run second inning and had three RBIs on the night. McKenna Bull was back in the circle to pitch for BYU and continued to impress, earning her 34th win. Bull pitched six strong innings and struck out eight. Ashley Thompson and O’Connor added two RBIs apiece to the Cougars’ offense, giving BYU a 10-2 victory.
“We’re a pretty good team when we show up,” said BYU head coach Gordon Eakin. “Our players played for the team today. It’s much different than playing for themselves.”
The Cougars have now finished their regular season and look forward to NCAA Regionals starting May 14. BYU finished 39-12 on the season and 13-2 in the West Coast Conference. The Cougars will learn their regional postseason destination on the NCAA Softball Selection Special, presented by Capital One, on Sunday at 10 p.m. (EDT) on ESPNU.