BYU's defense highlighted the day with two double plays. (Photo by BYU Photo/Mark Philbrick)
SANTA CLARA, Calif.—A five-inning 11-0 victory helped the BYU softball team seal its series-sweep against Santa Clara, after defeating the Broncos 3-0 in game one on Saturday at the SCU Softball Field.
BYU (23-22, 12-4 Pacific Coast Softball Conference) didn’t allow Santa Clara (6-39, 3-13 PCSC) to score a single run in the series and held them to just seven hits all weekend.
The game stayed quiet through three innings. Howell gave up just two hits and BYU’s defense didn’t allow a single runner to advance past second, throwing out Santa Clara’s Stephanie Fisher, who was trying to extend her double into a triple in the bottom of the third, with a perfect relay from Gordy Bravo to Coco Taualii to Madisen Robb.
BYU broke the scoreboard in the top of the fourth following a single from Bravo and a Santa Clara error to place runners on first and second. Alexandra Hudson Shamo took advantage and smacked a double to score Bravo. Robb then grabbed an infield single to score another Cougar run and put BYU up 2-0.
Anna Hudson sparked a one-run fifth with a lead-off double to left-center field. Lacey Millett replaced Hudson as a pinch runner and used her speed to score on a single from JC Clayton.
Howell managed to snag two quick outs against the Broncos in the bottom of the frame, but walked two to force a BYU pitching change. Katie Manuma came in relief and recorded the third out to her first batter faced.
Shamo doubled for the second time in the game to start the top of the sixth, but was erased following a fly out and a 4-6 double play.
With the 3-0 lead going into the bottom of the seventh, Manuma surrendered a single to the Broncos, for just their third hit of the day. However, BYU’s defense answered with a 5-4-3 double play to clear the bases. After giving up a walk to the next SCU batter, Howell re-entered the game for Manuma and forced a pop out to secure her team’s third 3-0 victory of the series. Howell earned the win to improve to 11-14 on the season.
BYU’s offense broke out with a seven-run first inning to start things off. The Cougars had seven hits in the frame, including a two-RBI double from Bailie Hicken on her second at bat of the inning. Clayton, Hicken and Bravo each had singles to start the inning to lead BYU to its first run. Manuma and Millett earned an RBI apiece on a sacrifice fly and infield single, respectively, while two of the Cougar runs were scored off wild pitches to give BYU the quick 7-0 advantage.
Clayton and Hicken struck again in the top of the third with back-to-back singles, sparking a three-run inning for the Cougars. Both runners scored following a sacrifice fly from Bravo and a double from Manuma. Tauali’i brought in one more run with her second single of the day.
Singles from Bravo and Megan Arnold in the top of the fifth allowed BYU to plate one more run. Shamo walked to load the bases and then Tauali’i was hit by a pitch to send in Bravo and put BYU up 11-0.
Caroline Umphlett entered the game in relief of Tori Almond, who had pitched a one-hitter through four innings to earn the win, in the bottom of the fifth. Umphlett recorded the first out, but then gave up two-straight walks to the Broncos. However, a 4-6 double play ended the game by run-rule to give BYU its second conference sweep of the season.
BYU will return home for a conference series against CSU Bakersfield on Friday with a doubleheader starting at 5 p.m. MDT.