(Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
HONOLULU – BYU made another seventh inning comeback bid, but came up short losing 6-4 to Valparaiso Friday afternoon in the Rainbow Wahine Classic.
“I am all out of words,” BYU head coach Gordon Eakin. “Sometimes you just have to play.”
Lauren Bell finished the day 2-for-3 with an RBI and Gordy Bravo added a 1-for-3 performance at the plate to lead the Cougars (10-16). McKenna Bull (3-7) went all seven innings striking out a career-high 14 batters.
Bull began the game sitting down the first eight batters she faced before Valparaiso (5-17) got their first base runner on a walk. The Crusaders then hit consecutive singles to take a 1-0 lead heading into the bottom of the third. Bell and Sydney Broderick singled to put runners on in the bottom of the frame, but the Cougars could not get the tying run across.
Bull held the Crusaders scoreless in the top of the fourth to keep the game close. In the bottom of the fourth, Ashley Thompson reached on an error and Megan Arnold singled to put the tying run on second. With two outs in the inning, Bell reached on a fielding error by the center fielder to allow two runs to score and give BYU the 2-1 lead.
With one out and runners on first and second in the top of the fifth, Tori Almond entered and walked one to load the bases. After a walk and single scored two, Bull re-entered the game on a 3-1 count and walked in one more. Bull struck out the next two batters to get out of the jam and keep the score 4-2 heading into the sixth.
In the bottom of the sixth, Thompson walked and reached third on a ground out and a wild pitch. With two outs, Carly Duckworth then drew a walk to put runners on the corners. Duckworth then stole second and Thompson scored on a bad throw to second to make it 4-3. Bell finished off the scoring with a single up the middle to score Duckworth and tie the game at four.
The Crusaders answered in the top of the seventh with a two-run home run to take a 6-4 lead. With one out in the bottom of the seventh, Bravo doubled to right field and McKenzie St. Clair walked to put runners on first and second. However, the Cougars’ comeback bid ended there as the Crusaders worked out of the jam.
BYU will wait for the results of the Hawai’i vs. Oregon game at 6 p.m. HST to finalize seeding for bracket play. If Hawai'i wins or loses by one run, BYU will end as the four or five seed and they will play again Friday at 8 p.m. HST. Should Hawai'i lose by two or more runs BYU will return to action Saturday at 1 p.m. HST.