BYU loses twice despite strong offensive effort

(Photo by Jonathan Hardy/BYU Photo)

HENDERSON, Nev. – BYU dropped both games on Saturday despite scoring 10 runs against Nevada and six against No. 22/24 Minnesota.

“We saw some good things today,” BYU head coach Gordon Eakin said. “After our effort yesterday, we asked the girls to give us a better effort and to play with energy and heart. The result isn’t what we wanted, but the effort and the heart was there.”

Katie Manuma hit .500 on the day scoring two runs and driving in one. Coco Tauali’i added a 2-for-5 performance with two runs and two RBIs. Ashley Thompson went 3-for-4 with four RBIs against Nevada (7-2).

The six runs in the second game were the most scored against Minnesota (7-0) this season.

“It was a great effort to score the most earned runs of the season off of the veteran pitcher from Minnesota, [Sara] Moulton,” Eakin said. “I feel good that we can play against the top teams in the country and score runs on them.”

Game one

Similar to their last two meetings, Nevada scored first this time with a solo shot to right center to take a 1-0 lead. BYU answered quickly when Tauali’i stretched a single throught the left side that glanced off the glove of a diving shortstop into a double. Duckworth moved her to third and Thompson drove her in with a hard hit to short.

In the second inning, Nevada hit a two-run home run and walked in two more to take a 5-1 lead. Manuma led off the bottom of the frame with a bunt single and later scored on a fielder’s choice.

Ashlee Robinson and Lauren Bell singled and Tauali’i reached on an error to load the bases in the bottom of the fourth. Thompson singled to the middle to bring Robinson and Bell in and Tauali’i scored on a throwing error by the centerfielder to tie the game at 5-5. BYU then took the lead when Manuma hit a ball on a check swing back to the pitcher to score Thompson from third.

The Wolfpack answered in the top of the fifth with a solo homer to left field to tie it up. The Cougars went ahead again after Carly Duckworth doubled to right-center to bring in Lacey Millett-Hofstedt and Robinson. They added one more when a bloop single to right field by Thompson scored Duckworth to give BYU a 9-6 lead heading into the sixth.

In an eerily similar fashion the game last week, Manuma entered with runners on first and second and Nevada proceeded to score four runs in the top of the sixth to take a 10-9 lead. Nevada would add 10 in the top of the seventh to go up 20-9. BYU managed only one run in the bottom of the seventh to make the final score 20-10.

Game two

BYU started the game on a roll with singles from Bell and Manuma, followed by a Tauali'I RBI double down the left field line. McKenzie St. Clair then reached on an error to bring in Manuma and Tauali’I giving the Cougars a 3-0 lead. The three runs were the first scored on Moulton through four games.

The Golden Gophers answered in the bottom of first loading the bases and drawing four walks to take a 4-3 lead. Minnesota added two more in the bottom of the second off back-to-back doubles to extend its lead to three.

With runners on the corners and two outs in the top of the fourth, Minnesota’s third baseman Kaitlyn Richardson made a backhanded-shoestring grab on a line drive from Bell for the final out.

Minnesota got things going from the plate in the bottom of the fifth inning hitting three singles and a home run to go up 10-3 on the Cougars.

Sydney Broderick, Goar and Millett-Hofstedt all singled to load the bases for BYU in the top of the sixth. Duckworth then grounded into a fielder’s choice to bring in Broderick. A single by Manuma and a walk to Tauali’I brought in another. St. Clair singled up the middle to score the last run of the inning and cut the lead to 10-6. Minnesota used a two-run home run and an RBI fielder’s choice to push the lead back to seven at 13-6.

BYU will head next to Cathedral City, Calif., for the Mary Nutter Classic. They will begin the tournament against Virginia on Thursday at 10 a.m. PST.