BYU softball splits four games in Purple & Gold Challenge

BYU softball splits four games in Purple & Gold Challenge

BYU softball won twice and lost twice in an invitation to the Purple & Gold Challenge in Baton Rouge, Louisiana over the weekend.

The action started on Thursday as the Cougars took on the 12th ranked LSU Tigers at Tiger Park. BYU pitcher Kaysen Korth kicked off an excellent night with four straight strikeouts to start the game.

The Tigers would later score a run in the opening inning but the Cougars looked to fight back as they took a one-point lead off of an LSU error in the top of the fifth. The home team directly followed the comeback with a solo home run to tie the match.

Senior pitcher Chloe Temples and freshman shortstop Ailana Agbayani came in to pitch in the bottom of the sixth after Korth pitched three hits, two runs, and five strikeouts, but it wasn’t enough as LSU went up 3-2, which proved to be the winning score.

BYU couldn’t stop and pout as they had a quick turnaround the next day in a doubleheader against Louisiana Tech and a rematch against the nationally-ranked Tigers.

On Friday morning, rather than trying to make a comeback themselves, they fought to contain a valiant resurgence from Louisiana Tech and succeeded with a 5-3 win.

The Cougars were up 4-0 after the first two innings thanks to a fantastic hitting effort from almost the entire lineup. The Bulldogs began their comeback attempt in the bottom of the third as they ran in three players to cut the lead to one, but BYU wasn’t done scoring yet.

Freshman pinch hitter Tristen Turlington earned her first career hit in the sixth inning that scored a Cougar run and increased the lead to two, where it would remain for the remainder of the contest. Korth also pitched complete game as she ended with five hits, three runs, and three strikeouts.

The thrill of victory would last only a few hours as BYU’s rematch against the home Tigers would end in five innings with a final score of 10-2.

Graphic by Nathan Thatcher

BYU had just two less hits than LSU on Friday night, but left six runners on base and committed two errors. The early nail in the coffin was a second inning grand slam by the Tigers which would blow the game wide open.

The Cougars did not want to end their southeastern trip on a loss and came back on Saturday to face N.C. State in what would be a pitching dogfight.

Sophomore pitcher Alyssa Aguilar and Agbayani both pitc in a shutout 1-0 victory to finish off the road trip for BYU. Senior third baseman Martha Epenesa’s sole RBI was the difference maker that would send the Cougars back to Provo with another victory in the books.

Although BYU dropped what would have been helpful victories against LSU, the Cougars still have a lot to look forward to–especially as they open up West Coast Conference play against the Santa Clara Broncos in California next weekend.

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