PROVO — Extending its home win streak to 29 games, the BYU softball team took two against Southern Utah, winning 8-0 and 6-4 on Tuesday at Gail Miller Field.
Junior pitcher Hannah Howell recorded the win in game one and the save in game two. The save was the seventh in her career, tying Paige Affleck for most in a career at BYU.
Senior Tiffany Messerschmidt went 6 of 7 on the day, including 4 for 4 in the first game, adding two runs, a stolen base and an RBI.
"We obviously had to find ways to win today," said BYU head coach Gordon Eakin. "We weren't dominant offensively, defensively or on the mound, so we had to try to look for opportunities to generate runs and get outs. I think that's a credit to the team that they did that and found a way to win."
BYU secured the first game against SUU in five innings after getting seven runs in the bottom of the fifth.
The game remained runless until the bottom of the fourth, when Messerschmidt singled to second, batting in Ashlee Brawley for the first run of the game.
The Cougars took their second run on an error by the SUU shortstop in the bottom of the fifth, sending Stacie Toney home for an unearned run. With the bases loaded, Manuma stole home to pick up BYU's third run. BYU continued to chip away with RBI singles from Krista Hicks, Jessica Dugas and JC Clayton before Toney came up for the second time in the inning and singled to left field. The hit brought in the final two runs to end the game on the mercy rule.
The Thunderbirds took an early lead, 1-0, in the top of the second in game two. Senior Delaney Willard got things going for the Cougars in the bottom of the third, belting a home run into right field over the fence. Willard's homer brought both JC Clayton and Jessica Dugas in to give BYU a 3-1 lead.
After SUU tied the game with two runs of their own in the top of the fourth, BYU came back to answer in the bottom of the fifth. Things started to get exciting for the Cougar faithful in Miller Park as Katie Manuma advanced to second on an error by the Thunderbirds. During the following play, Brawley singled but then advanced to second on a throw as Toney came home.
The Cougars tallied two more runs in the sixth on two outs off a grounder by Clayton and a squeeze bunt from Willard brought in runs by Dugas and Messerschmidt to give BYU a 6-3 advantage. These runs would later prove to be crucial as the Cougars would need them to avoid extra innings.
With bases loaded and just one out in the top of the seventh, it appeared the Thunderbirds were all but done but SUU's Mallory Wilkinson's reached first on an error to make things interesting. The Thunderbirds scored on the error but SUU was unable to overcome the deficit, as the subsequent hitters were unable to find their way to base.
Sophomore Tori Almond went to 6-2 in the win with six strikeouts in five innings. Willard led all hitters with four RBIs.
BYU will host No. 15 Hawai'i on Friday and Saturday in the biggest home series of the year. The Cougars will play the WAC leaders at 6 p.m. on Friday before playing a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 1:30 p.m. MT. Saturday's games will be shown live on BYUtv.
No. 15 HAWAII 7, UTAH 3: At Salt Lake City, senior outfielder Hannah Clements tagged a two-run homer, but the University of Utah softball team fell to No. 15 Hawaii in a non-conference contest Tuesday at Ute Field.
Utah (23-9, 0-3 Pac-12) cut its deficit to one run after six innings of play by scoring three runs in the fifth and sixth frames of the ballgame.
Clements homered in her second straight game to highlight her 1-of-3 effort at the plate with two RBIs and one run scored. She has two round-trippers this season and nine for her career. The Poway, Calif., native has 13 RBIs this year and 55 over her career. This was also her second straight multi-RBI performance of the year after connecting on a grand slam in Utah's 10-2 win over Idaho State in five innings last Thursday.
Junior second baseman Jackie Sweet was the lone Ute with multiple hits as she turned in a 2-for-3 effort at the plate to go with one RBI and one run scored. The Corona, Calif., native has had two or more hits in seven games this season.
In the circle, senior right-hander Generra Nielson made her 26th start of the season and went 62?3 innings, allowing seven earned runs on eight hits, while striking out eight and walking five. She fell to 17-7 in pitching decisions this season with a 38-19 career record. With eight more K's, Nielson upped her career total to 409, with 211 of those coming this season.
The Utes resume Pac-12 Conference competition at home against top-ranked California on Thursday at 4 p.m. MT.
UTAH STATE 3, UTAH VALLEY (9 INNINGS): At Orem, behind a stellar pitching performance from senior pitcher Dani Chaplin and timely hitting from senior infielder Kelley Kaneshiro, the Utah State softball team rallied to defeat in-state rival Utah Valley in nine innings on Tuesday.
With the win, the Aggies improve to 11-22 overall, while the Wolverines fall to 20-11-1 this season. Utah State has now won two-straight games after a series-ending win against Nevada last week. USU is now 1-1 in extra-inning games this year.
Chaplin struck out a career-high 11 batters in the game. The 11 strikeouts were the most by any Utah State pitcher this season.
The Aggies threatened in the top of the first inning after sophomore outfielder Kassandra Uchida led off the inning with a single to left center and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore infielder Allison Lenzora. Uchida advanced a base after junior infielder Christine Thomsen slammed a single to the right side. Utah Valley starting pitcher Tiffany Mills was able to work out of the jam and prevent the Aggies from scoring.
Utah Valley took advantage of some early wildness from Utah State's Chaplin. Jessica Uresti started the bottom of the first with a double to center. With one out in the inning, Amanda Robinson reached on one of two walks in the inning. On a fielder's choice by Jamie North, Chaplin threw high, allowing Uresti to safely reach third and load the bases. An Amanda Perez walk allowed Uresti to score, giving the Wolverines the 1-0 lead after one.
In the top of the third inning, sophomore outfielder Christina Cummings started the inning with a slap single to short right field. With one out in the inning, she moved to second on Lenzora's second sacrifice bunt of the game. UVU was able to record the final out of the inning to keep USU off the scoreboard.
Chaplin found her groove, striking out five batters in the second and third innings combined, including striking out the side in the bottom of the third. Chaplin retired five-straight batters before a walk by Krystin Jachim in the bottom of the fourth inning.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Chaplin added three more strikeouts, working out of jam. She walked Maddy Schulz to begin the inning and hit Uresti. The senior then stuck out Kelli Fox and Robinson before walking North to load the bases. Chaplin then struck out Perez swinging to end the inning.
In the top of the seventh inning, a first-pitch blast by senior infielder Kelley Kaneshiro tied the game. The pitch was the first by relief pitcher Cassie Herrera. The long ball was Kaneshiro's fourth of the season, which ties her with Thomsen for first on the team. Freshman outfielder Hailey Froton followed with a single to left and moved to second on an error, but the Aggies were not able to capitalize.
Utah State took the lead for good in the top of the ninth inning. Thomsen started the rally with a base hit to center and moved to second when Kaneshiro followed with a single to put runners on first and second with no outs. Starting pitcher Mills replaced Herrera as Froton advanced both runners a base with a sacrifice bunt. The next batter, senior designated player Lindsey Marquez, executed the perfect squeeze bunt that scored Thomsen. On the play, Kaneshiro used crafty base running and scored from the second on the play as no Wolverine picked up the ball. The Aggies were able to bunt their way to a 3-1 lead.
The two-run advantage was enough for Chaplin, who closed out the complete game in the bottom of the ninth to improve to 2-3 this season. Herrera took the loss for UVU, falling to 6-3 this season.
Kaneshiro ended the game going 2-for-4 with two runs scored and one RBI, while Thomsen was also 2-for-4 with one run scored.
The Aggies remain on the road, traveling to California to take on first-place Fresno State. Utah State will begin the three-game series with the Bulldogs on Friday, April 6. The Western Athletic Conference rivals will play a single game on Friday and a doubleheader on Saturday, April 7.
The Wolverines return to action on Wednesday when the Rainbow Wahine of No. 15 Hawaii roll into Orem for a 5 p.m. contest at Wolverine Field.
DIXIE STATE 7-11, CHAMINADE 5-1: At St. George, the Dixie State softball team swept a PacWest Conference double header Tuesday over Chaminade by scores of 7-5 and 11-1 at Karl Brooks Field.
The Red Storm (23-10, 13-5 PWC) scored five runs in the bottom of the first inning and never looked back.
Courtney Sherwin singled through the left side to plate the first two Red Storm runs, and Nicole Chavez hit a bases-clearing, three-run triple down the right-field line to give them the 5-0 lead.
Mattie Snow (Tooele, UT/Tooele High School) picked up the win to improve to 9-4 on the season.
Kate Pinder relieved Snow in the fifth inning and worked 21?3 innings before giving way to Snow to get the final two outs with the game tying runs on base.
Chaminade (13-20, 7-13 PWC) scratched out four runs in the fifth inning and one in the seventh off Red Storm pitchers.
Snow pitched four and two thirds innings, she struck out seven batters while walking one and allowing three hits and no runs.
Marla Reiter, Courtney Hine and Sherwin each had two hits in the 10-hit Red Storm attack.
In Game 2, it was all Dixie State. The Red Storm scored 11 runs on 10 hits while DSC starter Lauren Folta (Erda. UT/Tooele High School) allowed just one Silverswords run to improve to 12-3 on the season.
Kelsey Mendenhall (Tooele. UT/Tooele High School) slugged her seventh home run of the season, a three-run shot to left field in the first, and added an RBI double in the fifth to finish with two hits and four RBIs.
Sherwin also added her seventh home run of the season, a solo shot to right-center in the third.
Jaelle Judkins (St. George, UT/Dixie High School) and Reiter each had two hits and two RBIs.
Dixie State now has eight days off before an eight-game road trip to Dominican and Notre Dame de Namur.