BYU softball swept Southern Utah, 8-0 and 10-2, in a doubleheader Friday night in the team's home opener at Gail Miller Field.
“We played two complete games tonight,” BYU head coach Gordon Eakin said. “Both Autumn (Moffat) and Kerisa (Viramontes) pitched well, we played great defense, made excellent plays, turned several double plays and had timely hitting. We executed well offensively and made the big plays when we needed them.”
The Cougars (15-12) shut out Southern Utah (3-21) in the afternoon game, scoring eight runs on four hits in five innings to win by the NCAA eight-run rule.
BYU out-hit SUU, 14-2, in the nightcap to help fuel another run-rule victory, earning the 10-2 win after five innings.
Alexa Strid went a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate, with five of the team’s eight RBIs. Briielle Breland also went 2-for-2 with two RBIs, including two home runs.
After the Cougars sat the Thunderbirds down with just one hit in the top of the first inning, BYU opened the game with a three-run offensive outburst.
Breland walked and advanced to second base after Lexi Tarrow reached on a fielder's choice. With two outs, Libby Sugg also walked to put a runner on first and second. Strid then ripped a deep double to the warning track in left-center to score both runners and advance to third on the throw home. In the next at-bat, Bridget Fleener singled up the middle as Strid came across to give the Cougars a 3-0 lead.
To start the bottom of the third, Breland sent the first pitch for a ride to deep center with a solo shot to make it 4-0. It was her third homer of the season.
In the fourth frame, Southern Utah's Sarah Murphy walked before Mikaela Williams sent a deep fly ball to the center field fence, but BYU’s Brooke Vander Heide made the catch and rocketed the ball to second base to catch Murphy tagging up to get the double play.
Breland added a security run for the Cougars as she led off the bottom of the fifth and launched another ball to deep center for her second solo home run of the game to put BYU up 5-0. Tarrow answered the homer with a double for her first hit of the game. Sugg then walked. With no outs, Strid got her third hit of the day and fifth RBI with a deep walk-off home run to left field for the 8-0 win.
Five players contributed multiple hits to BYU's 14-hit tally in the second game. Tarrow went 3-for-4 while Jensen, Sugg, Strid and Emilee Erickson each contributed two hits for the Cougars. Tarrow and Sugg also had three RBIs apiece.
BYU scored two early runs in the bottom of the first inning. Jensen singled to shortstop before moving to third as Breland laid down a sacrifice bunt. Tarrow singled through the left side as Jensen advanced to third. Sugg grounded out to shortstop as Jensen came home and Tarrow moved to third. Strid then hit a double to right field, scoring Tarrow for a 2-0 lead.
In the third frame, SUU scored its first run of the night. Madison Tuft reached on a Cougar fielding error by the pitcher and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Kendall Kapitzke to trail 2-1.
Sugg singled to left field to lead off for BYU in the bottom of the third. After Erin Miklus came in as a pinch-runner for Sugg, Alldredge singled to left field as Miklus advanced to second. The Cougars put another run across the plate when Madison Merrell singled to center field, bringing Miklus home to make it 3-1.
SUU got on the board again when Kalei Watins homered to right center in the fourth, giving the Thunderbirds their second run of the night for a score of 3-2.
The BYU bats responded in the bottom of the frame. Allie Hancock singled up the middle, and Jensen bunted to put runners on first and second. Breland then laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance both runners. Tarrow followed with a double to right center to score Hancock and Jensen for a 5-2 advantage. Sugg then crushed a two-run homer over the left-field fence, also bringing Tarrow home for a 7-2 lead.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Merrell reached on an error before Vander Heide came in as a pinch-runner. Erickson bunted to third base and Vander Heide advanced. After Jensen walked, Breland reached on a fielder’s choice, which allowed Jensen to advance and Vander Heide to score to make it 8-2. The momentum continued as Tarrow singled to left field to advance Breland to second and allow Jensen to score. With the bases loaded, Strid singled to center field to bring Breland home for the final run of the game.
The Cougars head to Baton Rouge next week to play in the LSU Round Robin on March 22-24, against LSU, North Dakota State and Baylor.