After a win over Stanford to start the 2018 campaign, No. 19 BYU softball fell to Western Michigan on the first day of the Kajikawa Classic on Thursday.
“We played a solid game against Stanford,” BYU head coach Gordon Eakin said. “After a slow start offensively, our hitters made some good adjustments and had success in the late innings. Arissa (Paulson) pitched an excellent game and our pitchers performed very well today.”
To kick off the season, BYU (1-1, 0-0 West Coast Conference) played Stanford (1-1, 0-0 Pac-12) in both teams’ season opener. Solid defense and active bats propelled the Cougars to a 10-1 run-rule win in six innings.
Western Michigan (1-0, 0-0 Middle Atlantic Conference) narrowly edged BYU, 2-1, in the Broncos’ first game of the season.
“We ran into a determined Western Michigan team tonight,” Eakin said. “Their pitcher threw a great game. We fought hard and made it a game that went down to the wire. We will learn from this game and move forward.”
Arissa Paulson led from the circle, throwing eight strikeouts and two walks without any earned runs. No player had more than one hit on the day; however, three hit home runs against Stanford.
After four scoreless innings, BYU’s bats came alive in the fifth and sixth innings to take a 10-1 run-rule win over Stanford. Lexi Tarrow, Allie Hancock and Libby Sugg all scored home runs. Tarrow and Sugg led the Cougars with three RBIs.
It is the second time Tarrow and Hancock have scored home runs in the same game. They accomplished the feat in an 8-0 victory against Nevada in the DeMarini Desert Classic in 2017.
Pitching all six innings, Paulson threw eight strikeouts and two walks without any earned runs.
To begin the offensive outburst, Tarrow hit a three-run homer over the right-field fence midway through the top of the fifth inning. Her hit drove in runs from Rylee Jensen and Briielle Breland for a 3-0 lead.
Stanford responded with a run of its own in the bottom of the fifth as Whitney Burks singled up the middle to bring Alyssa Horeczko home, 3-1.
The Cougars’ bats remained alive as they scored seven runs in the final inning. Freshman Bridget Fleener recorded one RBI in her collegiate debut as Alexa Strid crossed home plate to put the Cougars up 4-1 in the top of the sixth. Allie Hancock sent a two-run home run to right field, bringing Caitlyn Alldredge home as well for a 6-1 lead.
Madison Merrell hit a double to left center, allowing Jensen to score a second run, 7-1. Sugg drilled a three-run homer to right field with two runners on, increasing BYU’s lead, 10-1.
After holding Western Michigan to four scoreless innings, BYU fell 2-1. The Cougars were outhit six to four in the loss.
The Broncos got on the board first, scoring on a two-run single in the top of the fifth inning. Freshman pitcher Autumn Moffat then relieved Kerisa Viramontes. A grounder to third base earned the final out of the inning with two runners left on base and a score of 2-0.
BYU went three up, three down in the second, third and fifth innings. With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, Sugg singled up the middle as Breland rounded the bases to score, 2-1.
The last effort in the seventh fell short, and BYU dropped the game, 2-1.
The Kajikawa Classic continues for BYU on Friday against Nebraska at 2:15 p.m. MT and No. 25 Georgia at 7:45 p.m. Links to live stats and the live stream will be available on the softball schedule page.