College softball roundup: Cougars sweep two more wins at home; Utes fall
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.
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