Junior Coco Tauali’i belted two homers and drove in four runs, pacing BYU softball to an 8-0 win over Pacific to complete the three-game sweep at Gail Miller Field in West Coast Conference action Saturday.
“It started out as quite a ball game,” BYU head coach Gordon Eakin said. “Coco got the early home run to give us a little bit of an edge, and we manufactured a run in the third inning with good execution. Then Coco broke it open. She played incredibly today and McKenna Bull did a nice job from the circle.”
In addition to Tauali'i, the Cougars (29-8, 6-0 WCC) were fueled by two hits and three RBI by Mercedes O’Connor and Lacey Hofstedt's two hits and two runs scored en route to the team's ninth victory in a row.
Bull won her 25th game of the season by pitching a one-hit shutout through five innings. The win was Bull’s third victory in two days against the Tigers (10-32, 0-6).
Tauali’i continued her torrid streak at the plate from Friday when she took a 3-2 pitch and lined it over the center field wall for BYU’s first run of the game in the second inning. The home run was Tauali’i’s third home run in two days during the three-game series against Pacific.
The Cougars tacked on one more run in the third inning when Hofstedt beat a throw home after Lauren Bell fielder’s choice grounder to the shortstop. Hofstedt had reached base when she singled on a slow grounder to second. On the following pitch, Hofstedt utilized her speed again, stealing second base. Hofstedt then tagged on a fly to center before advancing to third base and scoring on Bell’s at-bat.
BYU exploded for six runs in the fourth inning to take a commanding 8-0 lead. The inning began when Sydney Broderick singled to center field. After a Pacific throwing error at first, McKenzie St. Clair advanced to second base while Broderick advanced to third. Tauali’i then crushed another pitch over the right-center field wall, driving in three runs and giving BYU a 5-0 lead. The home run was Tauali’i’s second of the game and fourth of the series. Hofstedt then singled through the right side followed by another base hit from Bravo to put two on with only one out. The bases loaded up after a Bell walk, and O’Connor then doubled down the left field line, driving in three runs for the 8-0 lead.
Bull then finished the Tigers off in the top half of the fifth in just 10 pitches to secure the three-game sweep.
“Coco’s been making some strides in practice,” Eakin said. “It paid off this weekend. We hope we can keep her right there. If you look at her total game though, her defense was exceptional.”
The Cougars play again Tuesday at 6 p.m., against Weber State at Gail Miller Field. The game will be broadcast on BYUtv.