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BYU softball: Lauren Bell leads Cougars in day one split

By Spencer Shamo

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, Feb. 20 2014 5:34 p.m. MST

Lauren Bell led BYU to a 9-0 win over Virginia and had the only two hits for the Cougars in a 6-0 loss to No. 24 Notre Dame.

"Overall I felt we made some progress today with our pitching and defense," BYU head coach Gordon Eakin said. "Our goal is to get better every day and I think we accomplished that today. We will need to find more consistency with our offense tomorrow."

Bell went 3-for-4 on the day with a double, two RBIs and two runs scored. Ashley Thompson reached base in both games totaling four walks and a hit in six at-bats. McKenna Bull received the first win of her young career over Virginia (2-8), pitching five innings with six strikeouts and no walks. She also recorded the Cougars (5-7) first shutout of the year.

"McKenna had a nice outing on the mound for us," Eakin said. "She pitched the way she is capable of pitching. In the second game Ashley pitched well, but we had a couple miscues defensively that opened the door for [Notre Dame] on their first two runs."

Game one

After the teams battled to a scoreless tie in the first inning, Megan Arnold singled and Sydney Broderick reached on an error to put runners on first and second. Bell then doubled to bring both in for the first runs of the game. Bell was moved over on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a passed ball for the Cougars third run of the inning.

After Gordy Bravo was hit by a pitch, Katie Manuma doubled to left field to bring her in and make it 4-0. Thompson was next up and drew her second walk of the day to put runners on first and second. McKenzie St. Clair tripled to score both runners and then scored herself on a throwing error by the shortstop to give BYU the 7-0 lead.

In the bottom of the frame, Bull gave up two hits but struck out two and forced a fielder’s choice to get out of the inning. The two hits by Virginia were its only two of the game.

After no runs were scored in the next two innings, BYU loaded the bases after Broderick was hit by a pitch, and Bell and Coco Tauali’i walked. Bravo singled to right field to bring in one, and Thompson drew her third walk of the game to make it 9-0 heading into the bottom of the fifth. Bull struck out the first batter and used two groundouts to seal the five-inning victory.

Game two

Bell singled to right field for the first hit of the game with one out, but the Cougars were unable to capitalize. In the bottom of the frame, Notre Dame (8-1) singled, but BYU got its second double play of the year to keep things scoreless going into the second inning.

In the bottom of the third with the bases loaded, Notre Dame grounded into a fielder’s choice and hit a sacrifice fly to give it the 2-0 lead. The Irish added two more in the bottom of the fifth before BYU turned an 8-4-3 triple play to end the inning. It was the second triple play in program history.

Notre Dame finished the scoring with two more in the sixth to take a 6-0 victory.

BYU returns to the field Friday in a double header facing Oklahoma State at 10:30 a.m. PST, followed by Fordham at 1 p.m. PST.

Spencer Shamo is a Communications major at BYU and the BYU softball SID.

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