BYU softball: O'Connor's seven RBIs lead Cougars to twinbill sweep

By Kevin Nielsen

For the Deseret News

Published: Friday, April 25 2014 10:11 p.m. MDT

BYU softball swept Loyola Marymount in two games on Friday night winning the first 13-5 in six innings and 8-1 in seven in the nightcap.

Mercedes O'Connor finished the day with seven RBIs, driving in a third of BYU's runs in its two victories over LMU. Tori Almond struck out eight and only allowed one run in the nightcap despite two lightning delays.

In the opener, O'Connor led the Cougars to three big innings with five RBIs on a two-run homer, a two-run triple and the game-ending double to win, 13-5. O'Connor broke a 2-2 tie in the fourth inning with a home run to center that was pushed to right center by the wind.

"She was dynamic today," BYU head coach Gordon Eakin said. "She had a great day. I'd say the last 15 games she's been hitting the ball well, not like today, but maybe all the hard work is paying off."

In the six-run fifth, Katie Manuma hit a line drive, three-run home run to center to make it 7-3 before O'Connor drove in two more with a triple to the right-field corner and scored on a wild pitch for a 10-3 advantage.

Loyola Marymount added two runs on a homer of its own in the sixth before the Cougars ended the game in the bottom of the inning. The Lions walked three batters and McKenzie St. Clair doubled in a run before O'Connor doubled in the game-ending run.

St. Clair finished 2-for-3 with two runs and two RBIs, and Manuma was 1-for-3 with her three-run homer. Gordy Bravo drove in the other run. Lauren Bell was 2-for-4, and Sydney Broderick scored three runs to keep the Cougar offense rolling.

McKenna Bull earned the win pitching six innings, allowing five runs, eight hits, three strikeouts and a walk.

Game two started late after a 30-minute lightning delay, and an extra half hour lightning delay postponed things even later in the third inning. BYU won behind a seven inning effort by Tori Almond. She struck out eight, didn't walk any and only gave up six hits and one run.

The Cougars returned to the plate after the second lightning delay and their four-run inning put the Cougars' lead out of reach of the Lions' bats.

Ashley Thompson singled in Bravo before O'Connor added two more RBIs to her tally with a single lined hard off the pitcher. Ashlee Robinson hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Thompson and put BYU up, 5-1.

Thompson added another two runs for the Cougars in the bottom of the sixth to make it 8-1. St. Clair was 2-for-3 again with a run scored and an RBI.

BYU wraps up its series with LMU on Saturday at noon if weather permits. The game will be broadcast live on TheW.tv.

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