BYU softball: Cougars win first two games of Saint Mary's series

By Chris Scheitinger

For the Deseret News

Published: Friday, May 3 2013 11:40 p.m. MDT

PROVO, Utah — Fueled by a strong offensive output in the fourth inning of game one and a walk-off RBI in the bottom of the seventh inning of game two, BYU took the opening two games of a four games series with Saint Mary's 14-6 and 4-3, respectively, on Friday at Gail Miller Field.

With the two victories the Cougars (30-23, 17-5 PCSC) are only one win away from securing their ninth-straight NCAA appearance as the regular season conference champions. The Gaels dropped to 20-28 overall on the season and 11-11 in the Pacific Coast Softball Conference.

“Those were huge wins for us,” head coach Gordon Eakin said. “It looked like we were down and out in the first game, but we came back and lit it up offensively. It was probably the best offensive output of the year for us. We kind of gave it to them in that second game, but the girls showed a lot of heart coming back. I knew that when we tied it up in the sixth that the part of the order we had coming up in the seventh would take care of business and they did.”

Game one

BYU rallied with an 11-hit, 11-run fourth inning to overcome a five-run deficit, defeating Saint Mary’s 14-6 during game one of Friday’s doubleheader.

The Cougars' 11-run inning was tied for second most runs in one inning by BYU at Gail Miller Field. BYU also had a season-high 14 runs scored on 18 hits in the game.

Shortstop JC Clayton finished 4-for-4, with two RBIs to lead the Cougars. Katie Manuma finished 2-for-3 with two RBIs and also recorded her fourth victory of the season from behind the mound.

Saint Mary’s got the bats swinging early in the first. Second baseman Brittany Sabatini led off the Gael’s offensive charge, reaching second with a line drive to center field. With two outs, Sarah Lira hit a deep line drive to center field to score Sabatini. Saint Mary’s added another run with a bloop-single into left center to take the 2-0 advantage.

BYU managed to put a runner in scoring position following a hard line drive from Madisen Robb, but BYU couldn’t bring her around to score.

Saint Mary’s extended its lead in the top of the third. Lira hit her second double of the game with a long ball to right center to lead off the third inning for the Gaels. Saint Mary’s upped its lead to 4-0 after Elizabeth Slaughter smacked her first home run of the season over the left-field fence. With just one out, Saint Mary’s added another double to push the lead to 5-0 and prompt a BYU pitching change. Manuma came in relief of Hannah Howell and with the bases loaded, forced a ground out to retire the side.

The Cougars got on the board in the bottom of the third inning. With two outs, Manuma hit a hard grounder to second base to drive in Clayton from third, narrowing the SMC lead to four runs.

Down 5-1 in the bottom of the fourth, BYU rallied with 11 runs on 11 hits to take a 12-5 lead. With one out and the bases loaded, Duckworth hit a hard shot off the third baseman’s glove to drive in Bailie Hicken. BYU’s next batter, Gordy Bravo was hit by a pitch to score another run. The Cougars next three batters all singled to drive in four more runs, followed by a two-RBI double from Robb to extend the BYU lead to 9-5. BYU added three more runs on the inning as Clayton singled to second base to bring in two more runs.

Saint Mary’s added one run in the top of the fifth but couldn’t complete a comeback. The Cougars cruised to a 14-6 victory, scoring two runs in the bottom of the sixth to win via the eight-run rule.

Game two

Senior Alexandra Shamo singled up the middle in the bottom of the seventh inning to drive home Duckworth for the first walk-off RBI of her career to give BYU the 4-3 win.

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