McKenna Bull helped power BYU softball to a series victory over Santa Clara in Saturday's doubleheader, falling in the first game, 2-1, before coming back with a decisive 5-0 victory in the second.
"It was a nice comeback for us in the second game," BYU head coach Gordon Eakin said. "Santa Clara played very well in the first game. We hit it hard, right at them, but they made every play. It's disappointing to lose on your home field, but the silver lining is that we came back and took the second game with help from McKenna. She's got a really nice rise ball. That's a strikeout pitch for power pitchers, and I'm excited for the future with her."
In game two of the doubleheader, Bull recorded the second complete-game shutout of her carrer and also grabbed the freshman record for strikeouts (136) with six for the day. Ashlee Robinson homered for the first time this season in the first game to put the only point on the board for the Cougars and finished the day hitting 2-for-4. Sydney Broderick finished 2-for-7 with a double and two RBIs. Tori Almond threw seven innings in the first game, giving up one earned run and striking out seven players.
Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the sixth, Robinson homered to left field to tie the game, but Santa Clara answered with a solo shot in the top of the seventh to get the win.
Both teams were scoreless in the first three innings with Tori Almond throwing six strikeouts in that span.
In the bottom of the third, Robinson singled on a bunt with Lauren Bell grounding out to help Robinson advance to second on the next hit. Sydney Broderick singled on a high infield bounce to advance Robinson to third, but she was caught stealing for the third out.
In the top of the fourth inning, McKenzie St. Clair dove to her left to stop the ball from going through the right side for the first out of the inning and two more routine grounders retired the side. After BYU failed to get on the base paths in the bottom of the fourth, the Broncos singled to leadoff the top of the fifth and scored with a passed ball and a single to take the 1-0 lead. They held the Cougars scoreless at the bottom of the fifth to keep the lead.
The Cougars powered their way to a 5-0 victory in the second game Saturday with help from Bull's pitching.
The teams remained scoreless through 2 1/2 innings with help from two strikeouts from Bull in the top of the first.
Carly Duckworth singled in the bottom of the third to give BYU its first hit of the game. After Robinson walked, BYU took the 1-0 lead when Broderick doubled to center field, allowing Duckworth to score. Robinson then scored off a wild pitch to extend the Cougar lead to 2-0. Gordy Bravo followed with a sacrifice fly to center field, allowing Broderick time to score and make it 3-0. Ashley Thompson then walked and Katie Manuma singled up the middle to score Bell, while Thompson was caught at third base to end the inning with the Cougars leading 4-0.
Both teams were held scoreless in the fourth and fifth innings. In the top of the sixth, Bull surpassed the freshman record for strikeouts in a season, extending her total to 135 for the year.
Coco Tauali'i and Duckworth singled to lead off the bottom of the sixth and Broderick had an RBI fielder's choice to extend BYU's lead to 5-0 heading into the final inning. Santa Clara put runners on first and second in the top of the seventh, but a line out to center field and a Bull strikeout sealed the victory for the Cougars.
BYU hosts Southern Utah in a doubleheader Tuesday beginning at 4 p.m. MDT at Gail Miller Field. The games will be broadcast live by TheW.tv.
Royce Hinton is the women's volleyball sports information director for BYU Athletic Communications.
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