BYU softball: Cougar softball splits games on final day of tournament

By Jamie Morris

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, Feb. 16 2013 6:23 p.m. MST

LAS VEGAS — The BYU softball team closed out the Easton Desert Classic with a 4-3 win against Cal State Fullerton and a 5-3 loss to Portland State at the Stephanie Lynn Craig Complex on Saturday.

BYU (4-6) turned things around in its first game and held onto its one-run lead to take the 4-3 victory against Cal State Fullerton (2-5), but wasn't able to finish the day with a win as Portland State hit three home runs en route the 5-3 victory.

Game 1

Tori Almond pitched the first three innings and gave up two runs on two hits with five strikeouts in game one. Hannah Howell pitched the remaining four innings and held CSF to one run on two hits for her first win of the season. Ashlee Brawley Robinson and JC Clayton led the team offensively with two hits apiece. Robinson also had one run and brought in the game-winning run in the bottom of the fourth.

The Cougars brought one run across in the bottom of the second. Carly Duckworth earned a full-count walk to start the inning and then was bunted to second by Alexandra Hudson Shamo. An aggressive move by Duckworth on the base paths forced a CSF error from the shortstop to bring her in after stealing third.

Three-straight walks and a wild pitch from Almond gave CSF a run back to tie the game at 1-1 in the top of the third. BYU answered in the bottom of the frame when Robinson and Clayton started the inning with back-to-back singles. Bailie Hickenreached on an error, which also sent Robinson home, and then Katie Manuma brought in another run on a sacrifice fly to put BYU up 3-1.

A Titan homerun and single led CSF to two more runs in the top of the fourth to tie the game once again at 3-3. In the bottom of the frame, Madisen Robb singled, Jenna Goar walked and then Robinson singled to bring in Robb for the go-ahead run at 4-3.

That run would prove to be valuable as BYU held CSF scoreless through the seventh for the 4-3 victory.

Game 2

Coryn Tauali'i scored her first run of the tournament after forcing a throw to first on a bouncer to the pitcher in the top of the second to tie the score at 1-1. The throw from the mound hit Tauali’i's helmet, rolled to the right field fence and allowed her to circle the bases for BYU’s first run.

Shamo highlighted the defensive effort for BYU in the bottom of the third when the lead-off batter for Portland State blistered a hit over her head. She took the bounce off the fence and threw out the runner trying to stretch her single into a double. Howell then struck out two batters to close out the inning.

Manuma led off the top of the fourth with a stand-up double to spur a two-run inning for the Cougars to take the lead. Shamo followed with a single up the middle to advance Manuma to third base and then Robb worked the count to earn a walk and load the bases for BYU. Tauali’i lined the ball to center to bring in the tying run and Goar followed with a pinch-hit single to right field to bring in another run in the inning.

The Vikings answered with a single, double and home run in the bottom of the frame to take back the lead on three runs scored. Almond came in relief of Howell after the three hits and held the Vikings to no runs, but BYU wasn’t able to take back any runs and fell to Portland State 5-3.

BYU will travel next to the Mary Nutter Classic in Cathedral City, Calif., on Feb. 21-23 to take on LSU, Oklahoma State, UNLV, Northwestern and UC Santa Barbara.

Jamie Morris is the softball sports information director for BYU Athletic Communications.

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