(Photo by Mark A. Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico – Lauren Bell's grand slam and Ashley Thompson's solo homer led BYU softball to an 8-1 win over Southern Illinois University Saturday in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
After giving up an unearned run in the top of the third, the Cougars (13-6) responded with eight unanswered runs sparked by Bell's first-career grand slam to beat the Salukis (3-8-1). The home run is the second of her career.
"We played well today," BYU head coach Gordon Eakin said. "We hit the ball hard and executed well offensively, while (McKenna) Bull pitched a great game. Lauren Bell's grand slam was a clutch hit for us. It really got our offense going."
Two batters later in the bottom of the third, Thompson blasted her second home run of the season — a solo shot over right field — for the 5-1 score.
The Cougars tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning starting with Bell's sacrifice fly for her fifth RBI of the game. Mercedes O'Connor then picked up her eighth RBI of the tournament, scoring Lacey Hofstedt. McKenzie St. Clair singled later in the inning to score Gordy Bravo for the eighth run and eventual final score.
Bell led the offense with five RBI on 1-for-3 hitting while Bravo took advantage of her opportunities at the plate with three hits in four at-bats including a triple and two runs scored. The sophomore designated player St. Clair hit a season-high 3-for-4 at the plate with an RBI while Alexa Strid went 2-for-3. Thompson hit 1-for-3 with a walk in addition to her home run.
Sydney Broderick and Coco Tauali'i both had doubles in the game while Hofstedt added a hit and two runs scored in the game.
Sophmore ace Bull allowed only two hits for the second-consecutive game, pitching a complete game and giving zero earned runs while striking out six batters.
"It's been a great experience in Mexico not only with softball, but also the people here have been great to us," Eakin added. "We're excited to come back in the future."
BYU resumes play next week against North Dakota State Thursday at 10 a.m. MST in the University of Tennessee Tournament in Knoxville, Tennessee.