Freshman Ashley Thompson led BYU in a victory over reigning Atlantic 10 Conference Champion Fordham and an extra inning loss to Oklahoma State on Thursday in the Mary Nutter Classic.
“We were one pitch away from getting the job done in game one and just couldn’t hold on,” BYU head coach Gordon Eakin said. “It was disappointing to drop the game in extra innings, but it was nice to rebound in game two with a strong effort from Ashley Thompson from the mound and at the plate.”
Thompson was 4-for-7 with five RBIs including her first career home run against Oklahoma State (8-3). Thompson (3-2) also earned a win from the circle over Fordham (6-6) while striking out six.
Lauren Bell was also key for BYU (6-8) hitting 4-for-9 with two runs and an RBI. McKenna Bull (1-4) had another strong outing going all eight innings with five strikeouts and allowing only three earned runs in the loss to Oklahoma State.
“Both of our freshman pitchers, Ashley and McKenna, did a great job for us on the mound today,” Eakin said.
Oklahoma State struck first in the top of the first inning after a walk, a passed ball and a steal put a runner on third and a single brought her home. BYU loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning but was unable to put a runner across.
With runners on first and second for Oklahoma State, Katie Manuma caught a line drive and then threw to second for the inning-ending double play. The Cougars loaded the bases again in the bottom of the frame and used a sacrifice fly from Coco Tauali’i to score Sydney Broderick and tie the game at one.
The Cowgirls answered by scoring two runs in the top of the third with three singles and an error to give them the 3-1 lead. The Cougars loaded the bases yet again in the bottom of the third but were unable to cross a runner.
Oklahoma State threatened to score in the top of the fourth with the bases loaded, but Manuma yet again caught a line drive and tagged her base for an inning-ending double play.
Both teams remained scoreless until Thompson belted a three-run home run, the first of her career, to put the Cougars ahead 4-3 going into the top of the seventh. Oklahoma State answered by loading the bases and getting a two out single to tie the game at four.
The game went into a tiebreaker in the eighth, and the Cowgirls were able to capitalize with a two-run home run to take a 6-4 lead. BYU was only able to score one to make the final score 6-5.
The Cougars started the second game well with Thompson retiring the first three batters. Three straight singles by Bell, McKenzie St. Clair and Thompson scored one in the bottom of the frame. St. Clair then scored on a wild pitch to give BYU a 2-0 lead.
After a scoreless second inning, Thompson and Broderick singled followed by a walk to Mercedes O’ Connor to load the bases. Carly Duckworth singled to center field to score Thompson and Broderick and give the Cougars a 4-0 lead.
Bell got on in the bottom of the fourth after a dropped fly ball to center field. She then stole second, and Thompson drove her in for the second time of the day with a single up the middle to make it 5-0.
Fordham closed the gap slightly in the top of the fifth scoring two runs with a single down the left field line to make it 5-2. The Rams loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the seventh, but Thompson struck out the last batter looking for the win.
BYU returns to action Saturday for its final matchup of the Mary Nutter Classic against No. 2/3 Washington at 8 p.m. PST.
Spencer Shamo is a Communications major at BYU and the BYU softball SID.