The Cougars cheer each other on against Oregon. (Decker Westenburg)

BYU softball strikes out against No. 7 Oregon

No. 7 Oregon dominated BYU softball late with a 9–3 win, ending the Cougars’ five-game winning streak Monday at Gail Miller Field at Miller Park.

Following Saturday’s doubleheader win against Southern Utah University, in which they won their first game 7–⁠0 and their second game 8–⁠0, the Cougars went into Monday’s game hoping to extend their winning streak to six and take down the ranked Oregon Ducks. However, the Ducks were ready to fight after their two wins against the University of Utah.

The first inning started slowly. Oregon ended the inning with zero runs, one hit and zero errors. Chloe Temples, BYU’s starting pitcher, started strong with one strikeout. Taylei Williams, the second Cougar up to bat, helped bring the Cougars to zero runs, one hit and zero errors at the end of the first inning.

(Decker Westenburg)

The Ducks scored one run during the second inning, due to the first error of the game, taking the first lead. The Cougars ended the second inning with zero runs, zero hits and zero errors.

The Cougars continued to struggle as the Ducks thrived with a 2–⁠0 lead after the third inning. With their second run, three more hits, zero errors and the first walk of the game due to Paige Sinicki being hit by Temples’ pitch, Oregon continued to lead after three.

The fourth inning brought little change. The Ducks led with zero runs, one hit, zero errors and a score of 2–⁠0. However, Marissa Chavez brought some hope to the Cougars with a double play.

During the fifth inning, the Cougars allowed the Ducks to score another run and two hits through two separate errors. After the first bunt by KK Humphreys, Autumn Moffat-Korth was put in to pitch for Temples.

The Cougars started out rough with two quick outs before Martha Epenesa stepped up to the plate. She hit the ball out to left field, allowing Brooke Peterson-Mills to advance to second base. Williams brought the Cougars their first two runs with a hard hit into left field that left the Ducks scrambling, allowing both Peterson-Mills and Epenesa to score. Alyssa Podhurcak also sent a ball flying into left field, tying the score 3–⁠3 with a run by Williams.

Oregon took off during the sixth inning, however, scoring four runs, five hits and zero errors. With excellent hits by Allee Bunker, Hanna Delgado, KK Humphreys and Jasmine Williams, the Ducks pulled ahead with a 7–⁠3 lead. After Williams hit, Carley Brown was put in to pitch for Moffat-Korth and ended the top of the sixth with a strikeout by Hanna Galey.

Unfortunately, the sixth inning did not favor the Cougars. With two successful hits, the Cougars were feeling confident, but the next three batters saw three outs, allowing the Ducks to continue to lead 9–⁠3.

The Ducks reeled in their win during the seventh inning with three runs, two hits and one error followed by another zero run, one hit and zero hit inning summary for the Cougars. The final score was 9–⁠3.

(Decker Westenburg)

While the Cougars may have struggled defensively against the Ducks, racking up four errors to Oregon’s zero errors, BYU is confident in their ability to get better.

“We’re going to learn from today and bounce back for Iowa State this weekend,” Williams said.

BYU is confident it won’t allow Friday’s opponent, the Iowa State Cyclones, to get the better of them. However, it will take more than just defense and hitting practice.

“I think they need to be more mentally tough,” BYU head coach Gordon Eakin said. “We made too many mistakes defensively, let too many balls over the plate. Most of that is mental toughness.”

BYU will play Iowa State Friday at 4 p.m. MDT, the first of three games between BYU and Iowa State.

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