The BYU softball team is heading to the Salt Lake City Regional tournament after finishing the regular season 44-11 and winning the West Coast Conference Championship for the fourth consecutive year.
Wrapping up the season, the Cougars saw their 22-game winning streak snapped by Saint Mary’s in Moraga, California.
The Cougars started strong, defeating Saint Mary’s 4-0 in the first of three games starting Friday.
McKenna Bull tied her season high with 11 strikeouts and increased her win total to 29, which ranks third in BYU history for a single season. Bull was also named WCC Pitcher of the Week for the ninth time this season.
Junior Briielle Breland and freshman Rylee Jensen also played crucial roles in the first win of the series. Breland had two RBI and Jensen went 2-for-3 with one RBI and one run in the win.
The Cougars got their first run of the night in the third inning from Breland as she rocketed a home run to center field, giving BYU a 1-0 lead.
The first four innings were scoreless for both teams but the lone run of the game was scored by Saint Mary’s in the bottom of the seventh.
Bull threw 10 strikeouts in the defeat. It was the fifth game with double-digit strikeouts for Bull this season.
Coming off its first loss since March 30, BYU came back strong in the second game on Saturday and clinched a 4-1 victory.
Jensen went 3-for-3 with two runs and Alexis Strid went 3-for-4 with two RBIs.
Strid led off the game with an RBI to left-center, scoring the first run of the night.
Saint Mary’s tied up the game in the fourth inning after BYU switched pitchers.
The bottom of the sixth was tense as Saint Mary’s was able to place runners on first and third, but the Gaels stranded both runners on base.
The top of the seventh inning started with a bunt from Caitlyn Larsen Alldredge.
Bell then came up and hit a triple, bringing home Alldredge and Jensen who were on base. Strid then hit a single that allowed Bell to score and stretched the BYU lead to 4-1, the final score of the game.
Bull finished with three complete games, going 2-1 with a 0.65 ERA.
BYU finished the season with the best conference record in program history and now will shift their focus to the NCAA Regionals.
The Cougars will play Mississippi State in Salt Lake City on Thursday, May 18 at 4:00 p.m MDT.
The regional portion of the tournament consists of four teams playing in a double-elimination bracket. The winner of the regional advances to the Super Regionals which begin next week.