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BYU softball: Cougars cruise to sweep of Santa Clara

By Jamie Morris

For the Deseret News

Published: Friday, April 19 2013 6:51 p.m. MDT

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Pitchers Hannah Howell and Tori Almond held Santa Clara to just three hits on the day to spur BYU to a 3-0 victory in both games of a doubleheader against the Broncos at the SCU Softball Field on Friday.

“Our pitching and our defense was very good today,” head coach Gordon Eakin said. "We fought with enough timely hits to support the pitching and score some runs for the two wins."

BYU improves to 21-22 on the season and 10-4 in Pacific Coast Softball Conference play, while Santa Clara falls to 6-37 and 3-11 in the PCSC.

Game 1

Howell answered her perfect game against LMU on Saturday with a one-hitter in her start against Santa Clara to improve to 10-14 on the season. JC Clayton and Carly Duckworth had two hits apiece and both scored one run in the game.

Clayton smacked her second double of the season to start things off in the top of the first but two fly outs and a ground out left her stranded at third. Madisen Robb hit a double in the second, to extend her hitting streak to five games, but wasn’t able to cross the plate for BYU.

The Cougars were finally able to put themselves on the board with a two-out rally in the top of the third. Clayton singled to the pitcher to start the rally and circled the bases on a triple to right field from Duckworth. Gordy Bravo followed with a single to left field to score Duckworth and give BYU the 2-0 lead.

Howell continued to hold the Bronco batters at bay in the bottom of the frame with two-straight strikeouts and a forced ground out to hold the BYU advantage.

A single from Alexandra Hudson Shamo to start the top of the seventh helped BYU to a security run in the inning. The Cougars loaded the bases with just one out and were finally able to score a run off a single from Duckworth, her second RBI of the day.

Howell retired the first three batters in order in the bottom of the frame to secure the 3-0 victory for BYU.

Game 2

Clayton followed up game one with two more hits in game two, including two runs scored and one RBI. Bravo contributed three hits to the team’s total of nine in the game.

In the top of the first, Clayton singled up the middle, stole second and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt from Duckworth to place herself in scoring position. After walking, Katie Manuma stole second to draw the throw and was caught in a rundown, which allowed Clayton to score and give BYU a 1-0 lead.

Tori Almond took the mound for game two and sat down the first three batters she faced in the bottom of the first to hold the 1-0 lead for BYU. Almond had 10 strikeouts after giving up just two hits to improve to 7-5 on the season.

Almond had yet to give up a hit to the Broncos until SCU smacked a single in the fourth inning, but the Cougar defense was able to hold strong and keep the Broncos from crossing the plate.

Lacey Millett got things moving after pinch running for Mylee Davis to start the fifth inning. Millett stole second and then advanced to third on a wild pitch. She then scored following an infield single from Clayton to give BYU the 2-0 advantage. BYU added on another run following a sacrifice bunt from Duckworth and back-to-back singles from Bravo and Manuma.

Santa Clara singled to start the bottom of the seventh, but the Cougar defense answered with a 6-3 double play and then a foul out sealed the 3-0 victory for BYU.

BYU will complete its series with Santa Clara on Saturday in a doubleheader starting at 12 p.m. PDT.

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

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