BYU loses a close one against James Madison

St. Clair finished 2-for-3 on the day. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey)

HONOLULU – BYU softball dropped its final game in Hawai'i 3-1 to James Madison Saturday in bracket play of the Rainbow Wahine Classic.

“James Madison is a great team and they were able to take advantage early in the game," BYU head coach Gordon Eakin said. "We were unable to play to our potential in this tournament. Hopefully we will be able to work out the kinks over the next couple of weeks before conference play."

McKenzie St. Clair was a bright spot for BYU (10-17) hitting 2-for-3. Mercedes O’Connor added a 1-for-3 performance with a double and an RBI.

James Madison (18-9) started quickly loading the bases with two outs in the bottom of the first, but Tori Almond (2-4) worked out of the jam to keep things scoreless heading into the second.

Both teams were held in check in the second with Katie Manuma getting the inning's only hit and Almond striking out two of the three batters she faced.

The Dukes got on the board first getting runners on first and second to lead off the bottom of the third. A fly ball to right advanced the runners and a two-out single down the left field line gave them the 2-0 lead.

St. Clair started the top of the third with a single, but BYU could not get anything else going in the inning. The Dukes loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the fourth. Almond held them to only one run, giving James Madison a 3-0 lead.

With two outs in the top of the fifth, Coco Tauali’i was hit by a pitch to get on base. O’Connor then doubled down the left field line to score her and trim the Dukes lead to 3-1. With runners on first and second in the bottom of the frame, McKenna Bull entered and ended the scoring threat to keep the game close.

Ashlee Robinson singled to start the Cougars off in the top of the seventh and Tauali’i walked to put her in scoring position. James Madison, however, struck out the next two batters to seal the game.

BYU returns to the diamond Thursday to take on Utah in the Deseret Duel at 6 p.m. MDT in Salt Lake City.