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BYU softball: Cougars travel to Easton Desert Classic

Published: Sunday, July 5 2015 3:51 p.m. MDT

PROVO, Utah — After going 2-3 in its first tournament of the 2013 season, the BYU softball team will travel to Las Vegas in hopes of improving its record as it plays No. 23/25 Hawai’i, Oregon State, Louisiana Monroe, Cal State Fullerton and Portland State in the Easton Desert Classic on Feb. 14-16.

Cougar Quick Hits

The Cougars played in their last Easton Desert Classic in 2012, where they went 4-1, beating Portland State, Cal State Northridge, Memphis and Indiana, and had one loss against Depaul. In the tournament, BYU outscored its opponents 39-25.

BYU went 2-3 at its first 2013 tournament in St. George at the Red Desert Classic. BYU beat Seattle 10-0 and Idaho State 7-4, but fell to Colorado State 4-1, Nevada 14-6 and No. 6 Tennessee 6-3.

Freshman Gordy Bravo was one player away from earning her first Player of the Week award in the Pacific Coast Softball Conference for week one of the season. In her first tournament as a Cougar, she hit .556 with four RBI, four runs, two doubles and one stolen base.

Head coach Gordon Eakin is in his 11th season with BYU and has a record of 418-178 (.704). He is currently No. 18 on the list of Division I active college softball coaches in win percentage.

Opponent Notes

Hawai’i

The Rainbow Wahine return 13 letterwinners to this year’s roster after losing seven players from the 2012 season, including 2012 Western Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year Stephanie Ricketts. The team also added eight newcomers to the roster. Hawai’i is led by senior shortstop Jessica Iwata and senior outfielder Kelly Majam. Iwata was selected to the “watch list” for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year and is a two-time WAC Player of the Year with a career batting average of .373 and 159 RBIs. Majam is the UH career leader in home runs with 54 and walks with 117. Senior Kaia Parnaby will take up the main role on the mound this year as she looks to improve upon her 16-3 2012 record and 1.47 ERA. BYU has an overall record of 7-2 against Hawai’i.

Oregon State

BYU last played Oregon State in its first game of the 2012 season and was handed a 22-5 loss at the hand of the Beavers. The team was 36-23 in 2012 and was led by Elizabeth Santana, who hit .344 with 49 RBIs and 36 runs scored. The Beavers have five pitchers on their roster and will look to their upperclassmen Marina Demore, Tina Andreana and Amanda Najdek, to step up this year on the mound.

Louisiana Monroe

The Warhawks return just 10 letterwinners from last season in which they were one win away from .500 with a 25-26 record. ULM also finished last year with 105 stolen bases and allowed just 44 steals on 56 attempts, compared to BYU who only stole 59 bases in 2012.The Warhawks won three of their four games last weekend, led by Mackenzie Miller who went 6 for 7 with two triples and three runs scored. Veteran Stephanie Routzon didn’t give up a single run in her two appearances on the mound to earn two wins.

Cal State Fullerton

In their first week of play, the Titans gave up only 10 runs on 17 hits to grab a 2-2 record heading into this weeked. Last year, Fullerton had a record of 20-31. The Titans return 14 letterwinners and six starters to the team this year. The Titans also welcome an impressive nine players to the 2013 roster. The team is led by junior catcher Ariel Tsuchiyama who hit .500 in the team’s first four games alongisde one triple and two RBIs. BYU has an overall record of 2-0 against Fullerton and played last in the Easton Desert Classic in 2010 where the Cougars beat the Titans 10-3.

Portland State

BYU beat Portland State last year in the Oregon Regional 2-0 to end the Vikings season after a 28-25 year and a first place finish in the PCSC Mountain Division. The team returns 12 letterwinners and welcomes seven incoming freshman and one transfer to the 2013 roster. The Vikings will look to senior pitcher Anna Bertrand and incoming pitcher Karyn Wright to take up the slack on the mound. Wright earned one win and one loss in her college debut, giving up only six earned runs and striking out seven.

Last Time Out

BYU went 2-3 in its first tournament in the Red Desert Classic at the Canyons Complex on Feb. 7-9, defeating Seattle 10-0 and Idaho State 7-4, and falling to Colorado State 4-1, Nevada 14-6 and No. 6 Tennessee 6-3.

Colorado State (1-0) earned each of its four runs with two outs and capitalized on some BYU (0-1) miscues to grab its first win. BYU left seven runners on base in the loss and only had four hits against CSU pitcher Kacie McCarthy. Megan Arnold went 2 for 3 in the game and Carly Duckworth had BYU’s only extra-base hit with a double to left field. Duckworth also scored the only BYU run.

BYU’s (1-1) offense came out strong on day two against Seattle, scoring 10 runs on 12 hits to defeat the Redhawks (0-1). Tori Almond pitched her first shutout of the season, giving up only three hits on no walks and a career-high 13 strikeouts. Offensively, Marissa Bravo led the way for BYU going 3 for 3 with two runs and an RBI, while JC Clayton contributed two hits, two runs and an RBI for the Cougars. Katie Manuma blasted the only long ball of the game and the tournament for BYU with a two-run shot to center-field.

Hannah Howell took the mound against Nevada in game two of day two and after a two-inning hiatus re-entered to relieve Almond and finish the game, but the Cougars dropped the contest 14-6 to the Wolfpack. Howell gave up only three earned runs and had seven strikeouts in the game. Lacey Millett highlighted the Cougar offense with three hits, two runs and two stolen bases. Clayton and Bravo also finished with two hits apiece. BYU (1-2) allowed Nevada (1-0) to score seven runs in the first four innings to find themselves in a 7-1 hole early.

A seventh-inning rally wasn’t enough as BYU softball fell to No. 6 University of Tennessee 6-3 on day three. Seven BYU players had hits in the game, and Clayton and Millett had the two Cougar RBIs. BYU allowed Tennessee (5-0) to score six runs in the first five innings and then held the Volunteers scoreless before rallying in the seventh to score three runs.

BYU (2-3) was down 4-3 heading into the top of the sixth against Idaho State (1-1) but scored four runs to defeat the Bengals 7-4. Bravo was a perfect 4 for 4 in the game with two runs scored and two RBIs, and JC Clayton added three hits, with one run scored and two RBIs. Caroline Umphlett earned her first win of the season, relieving Howell in the bottom of the fifth inning. Umphlett held Idaho State to zero runs and gave up only two hits for the win.

Where to watch

The games against Hawai'i and Oregon State will be broadcast via game tracker. Check the BYU softball schedule for more information as the tournament progresses.

EASTERN DESERT CLASSIC — BYU's schedule

Hawai’i

Thurs., Feb. 14

4:30 p.m. MST

Eller Media Stadium

Oregon State

Fri., Feb. 15

3:45 p.m. MST

Stephanie Lynn Craig Park, Field 1

Louisiana Monroe

Fri., Feb. 15

6 p.m. MST

Stephanie Lynn Craig Park, Field 1

Cal State Fullerton

Sat., Feb. 16

11:15 a.m. MST

Stephanie Lynn Craig Park, Field 2

Portland State

Sat., Feb. 16

1:30 p.m. MST

Stephanie Lynn Craig Park, Field 2

Jamie Morris is the softball sports information director for BYU Athletic Communications.

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