Freshman pitcher McKenna Bull led the Cougars to a 7-2 victory before closing out an 11-8 win against Utah Valley on Tuesday night in a doubleheader at Gail Miller Field, extending their win streak to 12 games.
"Our team is playing with extreme confidence and determination and it showed today," BYU head coach Gordon Eakin said. "We got off to a rough start in the second game. Ashley Thompson hasn't pitched much in the second half of the season and to UVU's credit, they jumped on us. We came back strong and scored 11 runs. Our team's playing with confidence and I like what I see."
Bull had 14 strikeouts on the day to take sixth place on BYU's all-time season leaderboard. In addition, she picked up her sixth save of the season in the second game of the doubleheader. Despite having her 16-game hitting streak snapped, Sydney Broderick extended her on-base streak to 23-straight games, tied for sixth all-time in a season. Katie Manuma went 1-for-3 in game two with a home run and two RBIs, and Mercedes O'Connor finished 3-for-4 on the day with two RBIs, two runs scored and three walks.
In the first game of the doubleheader, the Cougars increased their win streak to 11 games as they topped the Wolverines, 7-2.
Broderick led off the game with a single up the middle to improve her hitting streak to 16 games. Freshman McKenzie St. Clair then singled through the left side to bring Broderick home in the bottom of the first. Katie Manuma and O’Connor each walked, which loaded the bases for BYU. Up next, Thompson walked to bring in Manuma and put the Cougars ahead, 2-0.
After a scoreless second inning, Gordy Bravo singled before Manuma walked in the bottom of the third. The duo advanced a base thanks to a passed ball and O’Connor singled to left field to bring in Bravo. In a strange play, Carly Duckworth's pop fly to second was dropped and the Wolverines threw to first base allowing Manuma to cross the plate and make it 4-0 in favor of BYU before Thompson was called out at second to end the inning.
In the bottom of the fifth, Manuma reached base on a Wolverine error and St. Clair walked. Senior Jenna Goar, who was subbed in for Manuma as a pinch runner, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on another pitch to the backstop. St. Clair advanced to third on that wild pitch before O’Connor walked. The California native stole second base before Thompson walked to load the bases.
BYU built its lead to 6-0 as the next batter, Duckworth, walked to allow St. Clair to score. O’Connor then scored on a sacrifice fly from Ashlee Robinson. UVU got two consecutive outs to end the inning.
UVU hit a leadoff home run in the seventh inning to put the Wolverines on the board. They scored again on an RBI single before Bull struck out her 10th hitter to end the game.
The Cougars came back after trailing 7-0 to win the second game of the doubleheader 11-8, increasing BYU's win streak to 12 consecutive games.
The Wolverines got the first run of the second game with a single to center field. Thompson walked in another run for UVU before the Wolverines' Megan Peay brought in two on a single to right-center field, giving UVU a 4-0 lead to end the top of the first inning.
UVU added two more in the top of the second as the Wolverines' Debra Lovell singled to left field with the bases loaded, giving the Wolverines a 6-0 lead. Following a pitching change for BYU, a single to the shortstop brought in one more to extend UVU's lead to 7-0 heading to the bottom of the second.
With the bases loaded, Coco Tauli'i and St. Clair each grounded out, but two Cougar runs scored on the throw to first put BYU on the board, trailing 7-2.
In the third, UVU scored an unearned run to bring its lead back to six. After Lacey Millett Hofstedt reached on an error in the bottom of the inning, Manuma homered to left center to cut the Wolverines' lead to 8-4. Robinson then doubled down the third base line to score three runs and make it 8-7 heading into the fourth.
O'Connor doubled down the left-field line, Manuma walked and Thompson singled to load the bases for the Cougars in the bottom of the fourth. With two outs, Duckworth hit a high fly ball to left center that popped out of the left fielder's glove to allow three runs to score and give BYU its first lead, 10-8.
In the bottom of the fifth, Broderick walked and Hofstedt singled to left center to put runners on first and second with one out. O'Connor then singled down the right-field line, allowing Broderick to come home and bring BYU's lead to 11-8.
The Cougars wrap up their regular season at home in a three-game series starting Friday against Saint Mary's with a doubleheader beginning at 5 p.m. MDT. BYU needs just one more win in league play to take the conference title. Friday's games will be broadcast live on BYUtv.
Royce Hinton is the women's volleyball sports information director for BYU Athletic Communications.
Copyright 2017, Deseret News Publishing Company