Sophomore Ashley Thompson’s bat and arm along with a record four double plays helped BYU softball to its sixth-consecutive win, topping Utah Valley University, 9-2, on Tuesday afternoon at Wolverine Field.
Thompson went 2-for-3 with a double, a home run, two RBIs and three runs scored as she helped her own effort from the circle. The pitcher threw all seven innings, giving up two runs on three hits to improve to 3-1 on the season.
“We played a little bit better in all areas of the game and we scored some runs,” BYU head coach Gordon Eakin said. “In the last game we didn’t score any runs off this same pitcher. We fell behind 5-0 after the first inning, and this time we only fell behind 2-0, so right from the chute we were halfway better.”
The Cougars (26-8) used a team-record four double plays in the game to stifle the Wolverines (14-27) as they left eight on base.
“The ball just happened to be hit in the right spots for us to create those opportunities,” Eakin said. “You still have to execute them. You still have to create them. Those double plays really helped get us out of a few jams.”
After the first inning, BYU found itself in an early 2-0 hole off a UVU two-run double. In the top of the second, Thompson helped her cause with a leadoff double, eventually scoring to cut the lead to 2-1 in favor of the Wolverines.
After holding Utah Valley in the bottom half of the second, the Cougars opened up a four run top of the third with three-consecutive singles to load the bases.
The first run of the frame came on O’Connor’s fielder’s choice, scoring Alexa Strid. Sydney Broderick then collected an RBI for the go-ahead run by reaching base on catcher’s interference before O’Connor scored on a wild pitch. St. Clair then knocked in a run with a single to shallow left field, ending the inning with the 5-2 lead.
The Wolverines threatened with bases loaded in the bottom of the third with one out. The batter hit the ball back to Thompson who threw to Broderick at home who then threw to Larsen at first for the 1-2-3 double play to end the inning.
BYU put two more on the board in the top of the fourth on O’Connor’s double at the wall in left-center for the 7-2 tally.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, UVU had bases loaded again, but Thompson struck out the batter before Broderick picked off the runner at first to get the Cougars out of the jam.
BYU held the Wolverines scoreless during the next two innings, including its fourth double play to end the sixth.
In the seventh inning, Thompson added two more runs to the score as she smashed her sixth home run of the year over the fence in left field to up the Cougar lead to 9-2 for the eventual final outcome.
The Cougars return home for their second West Coast Conference series as they host Pacific on Friday and Saturday at Miller Park.
McKay Perry is the sports information director for BYU softball and an assistant sports information director for BYU football. Contact him at [email protected]