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Hoopiiaina shines in U. loss; Cougs' win streak at 13

Published: Friday, July 31 2015 11:28 a.m. MDT

UTAH SOFTBALL: At Salt Lake City, junior shortstop Kelsi Hoopiiaina went 2-for-3 at the plate for her third straight multi-hit game, but the Utes fell to No. 15 Stanford 9-1.

Utah (28-27, 2-21 Pac-12) turned in five hits on the day and the Ute defense turned in its Pac-12-leading 23rd double play of the year.

Hoopiiaina had two hits in three at-bats for her team-leading 16th multi-hit effort of the year. She also stole a base to improve to a flawless 19-of-19 on steal attempts this season and also crossed the plate for the Utes' lone score of the contest.

The Utes conclude their regular season Saturday against Stanford at noon.

BYU SOFTBALL: At Las Cruces, N.M., the Cougars will play in the championship game of the Western Athletic Conference tournament after putting together a 6-4 win over No. 11 Hawaii.

The win is the 13th in a row for BYU, the third-longest win streak in program history, putting the second-seeded Cougars in the final with a chance to take home the title and the automatic NCAA qualifying bid at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Jessica Dugas, Krista Hicks and Stacie Toney each had two hits for BYU while Hannah Howell and Tori Almond split time at pitcher almost evenly for the Cougars.

BYU scored all six of its runs in the first inning, the second game in a row Hawaii has give up half a dozen runs in the initial inning after doing so in a 7-4 loss in Provo last month.

Down 3-0 in the first after Jessica Iwata lifted a 3-run homer in the top of the inning, the Cougars answered back against Hawaii pitcher Kaia Parnaby, who came into the game with a 0.95 ERA. A hit by pitch, bunt single and a walk by the first three BYU batters set up the Cougars to answer back.

Sophomore Katie Manuma responded, hitting a chopper that bounced once in the infield before going into right field for a single, bringing in JC Clayton and Tiffany Messerschmidt.

After taking a few swings, senior Stacie Toney surprised the Rainbow Wahine with a perfect squeeze bunt that resulted in the game-tying run and left Toney safe at first.

"That was the best play of the weekend," said BYU coach Gordon Eakin. "It set the tone for the rest of the game."

Senior Krista Hicks came up next with two runners on and did not disappoint. Her 3-run home run sailed over the fence in right field and put BYU on top, 6-3, forcing Parnaby out of the game after just one out.

BYU did gather 10 hits for the game, but the next six innings were all about the Cougar defense. The Hawaii lineup, which includes six All-WAC honorees and a lot of combined power continually hit the gaps for hits but were just as often stymied by great defensive plays.

In the third inning with runners on first and second, Leisa Li'ili'i hit a deep ball straight away to center. Dugas jumped on the fence but missed the catch as the ball bounced off the wall with Iwata rounding third. After hitting the fence, Dugas quickly grabbed the ball and fired it from center field all the way to the plate where catcher Shelbi Everett collected the ball in time to tag a sliding Iwata at home.

Hawaii tacked on a run in the fourth, the same inning Almond came in to relieve Howell. Almond struck out four over the next two innings.

In the sixth, a single and two consecutive walks put BYU in a very precarious situation with the bases loaded, no outs, and Iwata — who had already gone 3 for 3 and was a triple short of the cycle — up at the plate. But again a great defensive play halted any run the Wahine could make when third baseman Ashlee Brawley scooped up a line drive from Iwata near third, stepping on the base for one force out before running down the Hawaii base runner stuck between third and home, tagging her out for the double play.

Almond's very next pitch resulted in a groundout and the Cougars were out of the inning. Almond added two more strikeouts in the top of the seventh, including the final out of the game, to give BYU the victory.

The Cougars will await the winner between Hawaii and Fresno State or Nevada on Saturday at 2 p.m. MT. Because the tournament is double elimination, BYU will have two chances if needed to win the tournament.

SUU SOFTBALL: At Kansas City, Mo., the T-Birds struggled to generate any offense as UMKC was able to put 10 runs on the board to eliminate the Thunderbirds (29-25) from the Summit League tournament.

Southern Utah only mustered two hits in the game, recording a single in the first and fifth with both runners advancing to second on subsequent walks. However, without any other supporting hits, runs were hard to come by in the game for the T-Birds.

UMKC, playing as host of the conference tournament, made the most of four runs in the first, two in the third and four in the fourth to finish off the Thunderbirds in five innings, 10-0.

SUU had entered the tournament as the top hitting team in the conference with a team average of .308, but were only able to generate four hits during its two days in Kansas City.

Despite the results in the tournament, Southern Utah will enter the 2013 season with a great deal of excitement, losing only two players from its current roster and entering the Big Sky Conference.

REGION 18 SOFTBALL: At Taylorsville, top-seeded Salt Lake defeated Southern Idaho 8-0 behind Savannah Webster's four RBIs and MaCauley Flint's 10 strikeouts, while Snow College marched through the loser's bracket with two run-rule victories, 9-0 victories over North Idaho and Southern Nevada.

Southern Nevada held on to defeat Western Nevada 12-10 in the first game of the day. Snow moves on to face Southern Idaho at 11 a.m., winner advancing to the championship game at 1:30 p.m. against the Bruins.

BYU GOLF: At Eire, Colo., with birdies on three of the final four holes of the day, BYU senior Maggie Yuan skyrocketed up the leaderboard to 19th after round two of the NCAA regionals.

USU TRACK: At Moscow, Idaho, Utah State womenís track and field team captured their first-ever Western Athletic Conference outdoor championship and first outdoor conference title since winning the Big West crown in 1999.

Utah Stateís men finished in second-place with 200.5 points, which ends a three year title streak, while Idahoís men won the crown with 219.5 points.

Winning individual WAC titles for Utah State were seniors Daniel Howell (5,000 meters) and Lindsey Spencer (hammer throw), along with sophomore AJ Boully winning his second-straight WAC outdoor 400-meter hurdles title and freshman Jodi Williams taking top honors in the high jump. Spencer extended her school record in the hammer throw for the second time this season, throwing for a mark of 203-04, which ranks her 13th in the nation this season. Spencer was also named the womenís Outstanding Field Performer for the championships. Williams used a personal-best height of 1.73 meters to win the high jump for the first time this season, tying for the 10th-best mark in school history.

SUU TRACK: At Fargo, N.D., the Thunderbirds picked up two more individual titles at the Summit League Outdoor Track & Field Championships with the team scores putting the men in second and women in third.

Southern Utahís first title came in the menís shot put as Chris Johnson threw the second-highest mark in school history, 56-01.25. The mark was close to three feet greater than his season best as the sophomore bettered his season-best mark on all but two of his attempts.

Wade Nielson narrowly missed out on a gold medal in the menís decathlon as the senior was overtaken by North Dakota Stateís Weston Leutz over the final five events, finishing second with a career-best 7,126 points.

Kyle Kopp missed out on a medal stand finish by a matter of inches in the menís long jump, collecting five points for the T-Birds with his fourth-place finish in the event after bounding 23-07.5.

On the womenís side, Kayla Kovar picked up her second individual title of the competition and helped the T-Birds sweep the shot put with a first-place toss of 51-02.75.

WEBER STATE TRACK: At Bozeman, Mont., Mike Hardy won the 3,000-meter steeplechase in a time of 9:07.03. Trevor Ricks was second in 9:11.63.

In the men's 10,000-meter run, Alex Sorensen finished fourth in a time of 31:23.75, which is a personal best.

In field events, Chris Struckman went 23-01.00 on his final attempt to finish fourth in the long jump. Justin Watts threw a personal best of 177-11.00 in the javelin, good enough for seventh place.

Tyler McBee ran his fastest times in nearly two years in the 110-meter hurdles (14.36) and 400-meter intermediate hurdles 52.58.

Amber Henry won the 3,000-meter steeplechase in a time of 10:09.92, which set a new stadium record. Laken Skidmore was third in 10:43.52.

Sarah Callister became just the second athlete in Big Sky Conference women's outdoor track and field history to win three straight 10,000-meter races. Callister covered the distance in 34:54.71. That set a new stadium record as well. Teammate Taylor Thornley was second in a time of 35:35.92.

In the field events, Audrey Smith capped her four-year career at WSU with an eighth-place finish in the long jump. Her mark of 18-03.00 was her best of the season and was a career best as well.

Heading in to Saturday's final events, the WSU men are in fifth place with 30 points. Montana State is the first day leader with 80 points. Idaho State is second (52) and Northern Arizona third with 48.5.

On the women's side, the Wildcats sit in second place with 45 points. Four-time defending champion Sacramento State scored 80 points. Northern Arizona is third with 44.

UVU TRACK: At HUMBLE, Texas, the Wolverines remain in the hunt for their fourth consecutive Great West Conference title, coming away with three first-place finishes on a busy Day 2 of the championships.

Rusty Jones, who won two of five decathlon events Thursday, took three more to claim first place in the menís decathlon. Jones finished 500 points better than the second place finisher, fellow Wolverine and last yearís decathlon champion Stephen Wickhamshire. UVUís Michael Ashton took third in the event to sweep the top three spots for the Wolverines.

Jessica Lingwall followed with a first-place finish in the womenís heptathlon, holding off North Dakotaís Megan Grey by just under 100 points. Finishing fourth and fifth, respectively, in the combined event were UVUís Autumn Robertson and Ali Shields.

Maryn Pincock took the womenís shotput with a personal-best 45-10 to round out UVUís top finishers.

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