EUGENE, Ore. — BYU softball's bats went cold as it was eliminated from the Eugene Regionals on Friday in a 6-0 loss to Wisconsin at Howe Field.
BYU (33-25) had just two hits on the day to Wisconsin's eight, and the Cougars struggled early on the mound. Tori Almond was given the loss after giving up three earned runs in 2.1 innings. Hannah Howell replaced Almond and pitched 4.2 innings. She gave up one earned run on five hits. Bailie Hicken and Madisen Robb had the lone hits for BYU.
Almond recorded three-straight outs, including two strikeouts to start off the top of the first. After a foul out to start the bottom of the frame, Bailie Hicken made her first appearance of the regional at the plate and chopped a bouncing single to the shortstop, but she was the only Cougar to get a hit in the inning.
Almond put a runner on with one out on an illegal pitch call in the second. A base hit put runners on first and second and then Madisen Robb made the catch on a high pop fly for out number two. However, a passed ball allowed the runners to advance and a run scored on a short liner to left field. With runners on the corners, two stolen bases and an error brought in one more Badger run to put them up 2-0.
After a quick out to start the third, Almond walked two-straight batters and then gave up a three-run homer to extend Wisconsin’s lead to 5-0. The hit prompted a pitching change for BYU, bringing in Howell to replace Almond, who recorded the next two outs.
Wisconsin continued to hit in the top of the fourth and scored one run on three-straight singles. However, BYU’s defense answered with two-straight outs. The fifth was quiet as neither team was able to plate a run.
The Badgers placed two runners on to start the top of the sixth, but the Cougar defense grabbed three-straight outs to hold the score at 6-0.
BYU looked to rally in the bottom of the sixth with runners on first and second but couldn’t produce to keep the shutout alive for Wisconsin. With its life on the line, BYU needed to score six in the bottom of the seventh. Taualii walked to start the inning, but Wisconsin held defensively for three-straight outs and the 6-0 victory, eliminating BYU and advancing to play North Carolina for a spot in the championship.
Jamie Morris is the softball sports information director for BYU Athletic Communications.