BYU softball: Cougars clinch PCSC Championship with sweep of Saint Mary's

By Jared Houghton

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, May 4 2013 5:35 p.m. MDT

PROVO, Utah — BYU softball completed a four-game sweep of Saint Mary's, 7-6 and 4-1, to clinch the Pacific Coast Softball Conference Championship and earn its ninth-straight postseason bid Saturday at Gail Miller Field.

The Cougars (32-23, 19-5) were led by Katie Manuma who went 5-for-5 with two RBIs and Alexandra Hudson Shamo who went 3-for-5 with four RBIs. With the loss, the Gaels fall to 20-30 overall and 11-12 in the PCSC.

“This is a bittersweet day because it’s a day that we honor these four tremendous young ladies for their contributions made to BYU softball, our team, our community and the way they’ve represented their families," head coach Gordon Eakin said of his seniors. "These are four wonderful ladies and four wonderful families. We’re not gonna miss them yet, because we have some more work to do but they’re irreplaceable. They will be part of BYU softball forever.”

Game one

Coco Taualii hit a two-out walk-off single up the middle to give BYU a 7-6 victory and its second-straight walk-off win against Saint Mary’s in the first game Saturday.

JC Clayton started the rally in the bottom of the seventh, reaching first on an error. Consecutive singles from Gordy Bravo and Katie Manuma loaded the bases with one out. Alexandra Hudson Shamo followed up her walk-off single in yesterday’s game with a two-RBI single up the middle to tie the game at 6-6. Taualii’s single up the middle helped the Cougars walk-off in game three.

Before the heroics from Taualii and Shamo in the bottom of the frame, Saint Mary’s sent nine batters to the plate and scored five runs in the top seventh inning to take a late 6-4 lead. The Gaels started off the inning with a solo home run to left field and then loaded the bases with no outs on three straight singles. Three more singles plated four runs to give Saint Mary’s its short-lived lead.

BYU’s Katie Manuma relieved starting pitcher Hannah Howell in the seventh inning to (5-1) earn the win.

Carly Duckworth and Bravo each singled to get on base for the Cougars in the first. Manuma threaded a single into center field to score Duckworth from second and give BYU an early 1-0 lead in the first inning.

In the third frame, Clayton charged and caught a short blooper and doubled up the runner at first to turn a double play.

Manuma laced a lead-off single in the fourth inning for BYU and advanced to third on a hit from Madisen Robb. Taualii then laced a single up the middle, scoring Manuma to increase the lead to 2-0.

However, Saint Mary’s answered with a solo home run in the fifth to cut the BYU lead in half, 2-1.

Manuma and Shamo each grabbed an RBI in the bottom of the fifth to extend BYU’s lead to 4-1, before the combined eight runs were scored in the seventh to eventually give BYU the 7-6 victory.

Game two

Tori Almond (11-6) pitched a complete game no-hitter to earn the win. It was the first no-hitter of her career and the 15th in BYU softball history.

Clayton opened the game with a single to right field and then stole second base. That hit marked her 300th career hit and the stolen based moved her into a tie for first place in career stolen bases with 46. Bravo grounded out to second base and plated Clayton to give BYU an early 1-0 lead.

BYU added another run in the third off a sacrifice fly to center field by Shamo to score Bailie Hicken for a 2-0 advantage.

Saint Mary’s responded with a sac fly of its own in the top of the fourth inning to cut the Cougar lead in half, 2-1.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, BYU added two insurance runs after loading the bases with no outs. Bravo knocked a single into left field to score Hicken and Clayton for a 4-1 lead.

After the final game, the team honored Hannah Howell, JC Clayton, Alexandra Hudson Shamo and Bailie Hicken for their contributions at BYU.

BYU returns to action on Saturday, May 11, against Utah in the Deseret First Duel at 1:30 p.m. MDT at Gail Miller Field.

Jared Houghton is a Sports Information Director who works in the BYU Athletic Communications with the men's and women's swimming teams. He can be reached at swimming_sid@byu.edu for questions relating to swimming.

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