Sophomore McKenzie St. Clair’s go-ahead RBI single broke the tie in extra innings as BYU softball slipped past Saint Mary’s, 7-3, in the 10-inning West Coast Conference opener Friday.
"We didn’t play our best ball, but we’re fortunate to get out of here with a win,” BYU head coach Gordon Eakin said.
With the game tied 3-3, Ashley Thompson led off the top of the 10th for the Cougars (23-8, 1-0 WCC), reaching base on a dropped third strike. Sydney Broderick then doubled down the right-field line to set up St. Clair’s go-ahead RBI single that scored Thompson from third.
Two batters later and with runners on second and third, Brittany Call pinch-hit, scoring Broderick from third on the squeeze play for the 5-3 advantage. Lacey Hofstedt added another RBI with her single to center, and Bravo followed with an RBI of her own to bring the tally to 7-3 in favor of BYU before the inning ended.
The Cougars held the Gaels (15-22, 0-1) at bay, finishing the game on a double play.
Sophomore pitcher McKenna Bull notched her 21st victory this season from the circle. She went the distance, reaching a career-high 10 innings pitched and tying a career high in strikeouts with 14. She allowed three runs on 10 hits while facing 44 batters.
Catcher Broderick led the team from the plate with three hits in five at-bats — her first three-hit game this season. Gordy Bravo and Hofstedt each went 2-for-5 with an RBI, while Thompson hit 2-for-4 with a home run and one RBI. Lauren Bell also hit a home run with two RBIs.
The first two innings were scoreless as Bull struck out the side in the first to escape a bases-loaded jam.
The Cougars broke onto the board in the third inning as Bell smacked her second home run of the season into right center for two runs. Two batters later, Thompson followed with her fourth of the year, blasting it down the left-field line, landing the ball in the trees for the 3-0 tally before the inning ended.
In the bottom half of the third, the Gaels threatened as they put two aboard with two outs, but Tauali’i scooped a grounder to get the out at first to end the frame.
Saint Mary’s cut the lead to one in the bottom of the fourth. A ground-rule double led off the inning for the Gaels, leading to the first run of the inning, while the second came on a misplayed fly ball at the warning track.
In the bottom of the fifth, Saint Mary’s put two runners on base with no outs in the frame. Following a sacrifice bunt to advance baserunners to second and third, Bull struck out the final two batters to preserve the 3-2 BYU lead.
The Gaels then climbed their way back for one more, tying the game 3-3 in the bottom of the sixth.
The Cougars threatened in the top of the seventh, but Mercedes O’Connor was called out at the plate for the third out. Bull then slowed down the SMC offense as the first two batters struck out swinging before the third grounded out.
The knotted score continued with BYU retiring the next six Gaels heading into the top of the 10th when the Cougars tacked on four runs for the difference in the game.
BYU plays a doubleheader against Saint Mary’s on Saturday with game times at noon and 2 p.m. PDT. Live stats are available through the BYU softball schedule page.
McKay Perry is the sports information director for BYU softball and an assistant sports information director for BYU football. Contact him at [email protected]