Cougar softball season ends in Eugene

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McKenna Bull pitches against UVU earlier in the season.  BYU was eliminated from Regionals Friday night. (Jaren Wilkey)
McKenna Bull pitches against UVU earlier in the season. BYU was eliminated from the NCAA Regionals Friday night. (Jaren Wilkey)

BYU softball’s wrapped up Friday night after losing 7-0 to North Dakota State. The Cougars went 1-2 in the NCAA Regional in Eugene, Oregon. Their lone win came against Fresno State.

“It’s tough to lose,” BYU head coach Gordon Eakin said. “I’m proud of the way our team fought. We just ran out of gas in the second game.”

The victory over the Fresno State Bulldogs started out as a pitchers duel. The Cougars overcame a 1-0 deficit by breaking out for 5 runs in the fourth inning.The Cougars loaded the bases and freshman shortstop Alexa Strid ripped a two-run double down the left-field line, brining in Sydney Broderick and Mckenzie St. Clair for the lead. Senior Lacey Hofstedt then singled up the middle for two RBI’s. Lauren Bell brought Hofstedt in to score with her third hit of the game as the Cougars took a 5-1 lead going into the bottom of the fourth.

The Bulldogs wouldn’t go down without a fight and scored two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, and three more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. The flurry of offense gave Fresno State a 6-5 lead.

BYU responded in the top of the sixth as Hofstedt sparked the Cougars with a single to right field. Gordy Bravo then connected with her first hit of the game, bringing a sliding Hofstedt in to score on a throwing error. Mercedes O’Connor would then come up clutch with two outs and smashed a two-run home run to left field for the lead 8-6.

Fresno State’s offense wouldn’t give up and homered in the bottom of the seventh to trim the lead to one. McKenna Bull stifled the rally, collecting the eighth save of her career and tied Hannah Howell for most career saves at BYU. Bull also surpassed Christina Gwyn Trice’s BYU single-season record of 245 strikeouts.

The Cougars ran out of gas when they faced No. 24 North Dakota State in the second game of the day.  The Bison provided a steady stream of offense, scoring at least one run in each of the first six innings. Bull gave up 13 hits and seven runs in seven innings for BYU.  All nine of the Bison batters had at least one hit against the Cougars.  BYU was held to three hits against Bison and couldn’t find a way to score. The Cougars would lose 7-0 and be eliminated from the NCAA Tournament.

The Cougars can look back at their season with pride, going 40-14 for its ninth 40-win season and its fourth highest winning percentage in program history.

 

 

 

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