Southern Utah University snapped BYU softball’s 10-game winning streak after the two teams split a doubleheader Thursday at Gail Miller Field.
"We didn’t play well in either game," BYU head coach Gordon Eakin said. "There were some bright spots when we went down and came back and won in the first game, but overall it was just not a good day."
Lacey Hofstedt and Lauren Bell led the Cougars (30-9, 6-0 West Coast Conference) with four hits apiece in the two games. Hofstedt also swiped two bases, and Bell knocked in four RBIs. McKenna Bull started game one and picked up her 26th win of the year going all seven innings while only giving up one run.
After Bull came in to relieve Ashley Thompson in the circle in game two, SUU (14-25, 4-5 Big Sky Conference) rallied for six runs in the seventh inning to give the sophomore ace only her sixth loss of the season.
In the first inning, BYU was unable to convert with the bases loaded and two outs. In the top of the third, SUU loaded the bases, but Bull’s consecutive strikeouts helped the team escape the jam.
The Thunderbirds scored the first run of the game with a home run in the top of the sixth inning to lead 1-0.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Cougars answered. Tauali’i reached first after getting hit by a pitch and advanced to third after Hofstedt’s bunt. Gordy Bravo’s walk loaded the bases before Bell doubled to left field to bring Tauali’i and Hofstedt home. Mercedes O’Connor followed with a double of her own to score Bell and Bravo. O'Connor then scored on Thompson’s single to take a decisive 5-1 lead.
SUU loaded the bases with one out in the seventh inning, but Bull answered back with two more strikeouts to take the 5-1 win.
Trailing 5-2 in the bottom of the sixth, O’Connor and Thompson each walked. With two outs, Coco Tauali’i drilled her fifth home run in five games over the left-center field wall to pull the Cougars even at 5-5.
BYU juiced the bases again with two outs in the sixth and the score tied at five. Bell doubled to score two more runs, giving the home team its first lead of the game at 8-5 with the six-run inning.
The Thunderbirds responded in the top of the seventh, loading the bases before scoring two runs to cut the lead to 8-7. With two outs, the bases loaded and a full count, Sara Park belted a grand slam to center field to give SUU an 11-8 tally and the eventual final score.
SUU got on the board first in the second inning after a single and a walk. Amanda Cook drilled a two-run double down the left-field line. Park scored Cook with another double to left field to give the Thunderbirds a 3-0 advantage.
SUU added another run in the third inning when Kaitlin Williams jumped all over the first pitch she saw and drilled it over the left-field wall to make it a 4-0 Thunderbird advantage.
The BYU pitcher Thompson struggled in the third and walked two batters in a row with one out. Tauali’i fielded a grounder at third base, stepped on her bag and whipped it over to first base to turn a double play and get out of the inning without any more damage.
"I think we are a tired team right now so we’ll take a couple days off to regenerate and take care of finals and be back at it Monday and hopefully we won’t show those same signs next week," Eakin said. "I challenged them to find the fire again by giving them a couple days off and hopefully we see that to finish the season."
BYU is back in action Wednesday against Utah State at Gail Miller Field. The game will be broadcast live on BYUtv and BYU Radio.
Zach Brady is a student at BYU and current BYU swimming & diving SID. TWITTER: @Zachbrady7 EMAIL: [email protected].