(Photo by BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)
PROVO, Utah – For the third time in the past four years, BYU softball will face the University of Oregon in the first round of the NCAA tournament in Eugene, Oregon.
The Cougars (39-12, 13-2 WCC) play the No. 2 overall seed and Pac-12 champion Ducks Thursday at 5 p.m. PDT. The game will be streamed live through Pac-12.com.
Mountain West champion Fresno State and Summit League title winner North Dakota State will be the other two teams in the double-elimination pool with games running Thursday through Saturday.
At the plate. Junior centerfielder Gordy Bravo has a 13-game hitting and a 26-game on-base streak with a .463 batting average for 11th in the nation, including a career-high 75 hits. Senior Lacey Hofstedt is second on the team and 33rd in the country with a .443 clip at the plate. She was named to the CoSIDA All-District 8 team for her achievements this season in softball and academics.
Stolen bases. Hofstedt has 24 total stolen bases on the season – one behind the BYU single season record of 25 set by Hofstedt in 2013.
From the circle. Pitcher McKenna Bull is 34-7 with 238 strikeouts and a 1.96 ERA. In 43 appearances she has 28 complete games with eight shutouts. On May 5, she set the BYU record for most victories in a single season with 33.
Runs. Sydney Broderick and Ashley Thompson are first and second in the RBI category with 44 and 42, respectively. Seven of the eight starters have surpassed their RBI totals from 2014.
Conference leaders. Bravo led the WCC in batting average, hits, runs scored, OBP, total bases and total plate appearances while also in the top five in walks and sac flies. Bull was atop the leauge in ERA, opposing batting average, innings pitched, strikeouts, wins, starts and appearances.
Win total. With the 39-12 mark, BYU is just one win shy of its ninth season with 40 or more wins.
11th-straight NCAA regional. Including this season, the Cougars have a total of 12 NCAA appearances and 11 in a row. BYU competed in the Seattle Regional in 2014, taking its first game against Northwestern 7-3 before falling to host Washington 9-0 and Northwestern 8-3 in an elimination game.
Links to video and live stats will be available on the softball schedule page.
Oregon (46-6, 21-3 Pac-12)
The Ducks and Cougars have met several times in past regionals including 2012 and 2013. Most recently, the two teams split two games in 2014 with BYU taking the last meeting in a 6-5 win at Gail Miller Field in Provo, Utah.
Oregon is led by pitcher Cheridan Hawkins who is 27-3 with 17 complete games and nine shutouts while striking out 224 batters and posting a 1.39 ERA. The Ducks have 11 players with at least 69 at-bats who are batting over .300. Jenna Lilley leads the team with a .448 average to go along with six homers, 43 RBI and 15 stolen bases. Janie Takeda has a .421 clip wtih 33 stolen bases to lead Oregon on the base paths. Koral Costa (.356, 14 HR, 44 RBI) and Hailey Decker (.338, 10 HR, 38 RBI) both have double-digit totals in home runs this season.
Fresno State (40-14, 20-4 Mountain West)
The Bulldogs and Cougars last met in 2013 with Fresno State taking a 5-4 win. Before that, the two met in the Western Athletic Conference title game in 2012 with BYU taking the crowin 8-3. The Mountain West champion Fresno State is led by Brenna Moss from the plate with her .446 average and 25 stolen bases. Kierra Willis (.376, 8 HR, 55 RBI) and Michelle Solomon (.358, 5 HR, 50 RBI) have played major roles in run production while pitcher Jill Compton (28-10, 2.10) has seen the bulk of the innings in the circle.
North Dakota State (43-9, 16-2 Summit)
The Bison and Cougars were scheduled to play each other earlier in 2015 at the University of Tennessee Tournament. BYU did not participate due to the weather. The last time the two teams faced each other was in March 2014 when they split two games in the Stanford Louisville Slugger Classic.
North Dakota State is led by Logan Moreland (.436, 6 HR, 38 RBI), Cheyenne Garcia (.429, 13 HR, 54 RBI), Alyssa Reina (.346, 14 HR, 55 RBI) and Amanda Grable (.394, 4 HR, 45 RBI). The team has six players with at least 10 stolen bases on the season. From the circle Krista Menke has controlled opposing offenses by throwing 11 shutouts and striking out 362 batters en route to a 32-4 record.