SALT LAKE CITY — After a heartbreaking 3-2 walk-off loss to Utah the day before, the BYU softball team was dealt a different kind of crushing defeat by the Utes in Saturday’s regional championship contest, losing in a landslide 14-0 loss.
For the Cougars, the trouble started early in the game in a first inning that BYU head coach Gordon Eakin called “a disaster.” It began with pitcher McKenna Bull plunking Utah leadoff batter BreOnna Castaneda, followed by an error that allowed Alyssa Barrera to reach base safely and moved Castaneda to third. A wild pitch then allowed Barrera to cross home, and from there the rout was on. A sacrifice fly by Utah All-American Hannah Flippen allowed the second runner to score, and the Utes quickly found themselves up 2-0 on two errors and no hits.
Eakin said errors impacted the game, but that the Cougars ran into a buzzsaw in the Utes more than anything.
“Utah is very, very good,” said Eakin. “We got to give them credit, but it certainly fueled their passion and their game.”
Most troubling for the Cougars was Utah pitcher Miranda Viramontes, who hurled five and a third shutout innings, striking out two and allowing just five hits.
“She was good today,” Eakin said of Viramontes. “We controlled it a bit in the middle innings, trying to give us a chance to get back in it, but Viramontes was very good, and you have to give her credit.”
For BYU, the pitching wasn’t nearly there. Bull allowed five runs, four of which were earned, and she only lasted two and a third innings before she was pulled in favor of Arissa Paulson. Paulson didn’t fare any better, pitching three innings and permitting eight hits and five runs.
“McKenna just wasn’t on her game,” Eakin said. “Whether that was because it was her third game in three days or she was just off, she was just off a little bit.”
The Cougars, who finished 46-14 on the season, were obviously disappointed in the outcome of the final game of the year, but Eakin found perspective in the defeat, citing one of sport's most infamous collapses.
“We’re very passionate about softball, but at the end of the day, you have to remember that softball’s not life. I think Billy Buckner said it best in the World Series when the ball rolled through his legs in game No. 6 and they ended up losing the World Series. They interviewed him, and he said, ‘Well it’s not my life, and it’s not my wife.’”