The BYU softball finished the Wildcat Invitational in Tucson, Arizona this weekend with a record of 3-2.
Cougar offense came to play on Thursday and scored BYU scored double-digit runs for the first time this season, as well as broke their season-high record with 17 hits total against Mount St. Mary’s.
“We had two nice wins today,” said BYU head coach Gordon Eakin. “We put all three phases of the game together: offense, defense and pitching. McKenna Bull threw a great game and got all of the offensive support she needed from our batters.”
Ashley Thompson and Libby Sugg had three RBI each, leading the offensive effort against the Mountaineers. Sugg and Coco Tauali’i Bond both hit home runs against Mount St. Mary’s. Sugg is in third place for most home runs hit by a freshman just 20 games into the season.
Scoring five runs in the third inning alone contributed to the Cougar lead, with a triple from Caitlyn Larsen, doubles from Emilee Erickson and Alexa Strid, and a single from Thompson.
The Mountaineers scored one run in the sixth, but it was not enough to avoid the mercy rule and BYU won 15-6.
BYU took on Arizona next and walked away with its first win against a top-25 team this season. Home runs from Bond and Sugg brought the score to 2-2, and then a Wildcat error brought Thompson and Madison Merrell home, bringing the Cougars ahead 4-2.
Bull lead the pitching battle that was the rest of the game. She threw nine strikeouts and the team came away with the victory.
The Wildcats came back fighting for Friday’s rematch, winning 6-3. Although both teams had several hits, Cougar errors ultimately led to the Arizona victory.
The second game of the day was against the University of Texas at El Paso and the Cougars were back, playing “inspired softball” to win 8-0 and completing their sixth shutout of the season.
“We played well today,” Eakin said. “If we continue to play with that type of passion and energy, a lot of good things will happen.”
Bull’s pitching continued with a total of 11 strikeouts during the game and the offense led the Cougs to victory. Merrell led BYU with three RBI, including a double and a home run. Thompson hit her second home run of the year and Emilee Erickson hit her first career home run.
The weekend proved taxing for the team and Eakin said the “high-level competition took a toll,” particularly on Bull. However, the team fought hard to get eight runs against the James Madison Dukes on Saturday.
“We fought hard today,” Eakin said. “Offensively, we did a nice job on their starting pitcher, chasing her out of the game late in the game. Overall, I was pleased with our performance and fight against good competition.” Playing error-free, BYU was simply outhit by James Madison 13-10.
Next weekend the Cougars will travel to Oklahoma to play four games, including two against the Sooners.