BYU softball: Bravo and Bull lead comeback victory over Hawai'i

By Spencer Shamo

For the Deseret News

Published: Friday, March 14 2014 6:46 p.m. MDT

Gordy Bravo sparked a seventh-inning rally and McKenna Bull struck out seven consecutive batters to lead BYU softball to a 3-1 victory over Hawai’i on Thursday in the Rainbow Wahine Classic.

“It was a great team effort tonight,” BYU head coach Gordon Eakin said. “We had excellent pitching that kept us in the game and gave us a chance, and we were able to get some clutch hitting in the seventh.”

Bravo finished 3-for-4 with a double to lead BYU (10-15) from the plate. McKenzie St. Clair added a 2-for-3 performance and a run. Katie Manuma hit the go-ahead two-run double in the top of the seventh, and Ashley Thompson added a solo home run. Bull (3-6) did not allow a single Hawai’i (12-12) baserunner in three innings of work.

Lacey Millett Hofstedt singled through the left side for the first hit of the game. She then stole second and third to get into scoring position with two outs, but BYU was unable to bring her home to end the top of the first. With runners on first and second for the Rainbow Wahine in the bottom of the frame, Almond struck out the next two batters to keep them off the scoreboard.

With two outs in the second, a walk to Mercedes O’Connor and singles by Coco Tauali’i and Lauren Bell loaded the bases for the Cougars. However, Hawai’i was able to get out of the jam and maintain the scoreless tie. Almond struck out the first two batters, and the third batter popped up to the short stop for a clean bottom of the second.

Bravo singled and St. Clair doubled to right center to put runners on second and third with one out in the top of the third. The Rainbow Wahine worked out of the jam once again to get to the bottom of the frame. They quickly put runners on first and second with one out, but Almond answered getting out of the inning with a pop up and a groundout to maintain the scoreless tie.

After BYU left two more stranded in the top of the fourth, Hawai’i was able to capitalize first with a single and a double to take the 1-0 lead heading into the fifth inning.

Bravo doubled to lead off the fifth inning and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt but was caught off the bag on a grounder to third base, and the Cougars could not answer and tie the game. Bull entered in the fifth with a runner on first and quickly helped produce a 4-6-3 double play. She then threw four straight strikeouts for the last out of the fifth and all three outs in the sixth.

With one out in the top of the seventh, Bravo came through again with a single to get a runner on base. St. Clair then singled and advanced on the throw to place runners on second and third. Manuma then crushed a ball to right field to score two but was thrown out trying to stretch a double into a triple. Thompson added an insurance run with a solo shot to center field to give BYU a 3-1 lead. Bull struck out the side once again to complete the comeback.

BYU returns to action Saturday at 1:30 p.m. HST against Valparaiso to determine its seed in bracket play.

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

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