Cougars Get One Against No. 15 Hawai'i

Katie Manuma hit a 2-RBI single in game two vs. Hawai'i.

PROVO, Utah – After falling in a close contest, 1-0, the BYU softball team jumped out early and went on to a 7-3 win over No. 15 Hawai'i on Saturday at Miller Park in front of a record 1,953 fans.

BYU improved to 24-11 and 4-3 in the Western Athletic Conference while Hawai'i goes to 32-4 and 6-2 in WAC play.

"I think our girls were determined and played that way but in that first game they just happened to be playing right where we hit them," said BYU head coach Gordon Eakin. "When we went into the locker room between games we decided to come out and not let a loss happen twice on our own field so I'm proud of them for coming out and setting the tone." 

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Game One

Despite record attendance and superb pitching from junior Hannah Howell, BYU was unable to gain a run and lost 1-0 to Hawai'i.

Any other day, Howell's 2-hit, 5-strikeout performance would have been enough for a win against a powerful Hawai'i team that came into Provo with 46 home runs and a 31-3 record.

But Hawai'i pitcher Stephanie Ricketts held BYU just to one hit to hold the Cougars scoreless.

After two consecutive walks drawn by Hawai'i in the top of the sixth, a deep hit to center field was caught but advanced runners to second and third. A walk loaded the bases and a short grounder back to the pitcher permitted the Rainbow Wahine runner on third to make it home and put the game's only run on the board.

BYU's Delany Willard singled to center field in the bottom of the fourth for BYU's lone hit of the game, but was put out in an attempt to steal second to end the inning.

Game Two

BYU came out with a vengeance in the second game, scoring six runs in the bottom of the first inning. Hawai'i had previously given up a season-high four runs in two other games this season before the Cougar bats came alive.

The Cougars hit the holes they couldn't find in the first game, racking up singles and sending around six runners on Hawai'i pitcher Kaia Parnaby who had a 0.74 ERA and 12-1 record in 13 appearances coming into the game.

Senior Jessica Dugas went 2 for 2 in the first inning alone, starting things off for the Cougars with a single. After a walk and a successful double steal, sophomore and Hawai'i native Katie Manuma laced a hit to right field, scoring Dugas and JC Clayton.

Ashlee Brawley, Anna Hudson and Dugas each added an RBI single in the inning while Carly Duckworth brought in another on a fielder's choice to give BYU starter Tori Almond plenty of room going into the second inning.

Almond struck out seven and allowed just one earned run to pick up the win and go to 8-2 on the year.

"If we keep playing how we did in that second game, we're on the right track," Eakin said.

In the top of the sixth, Hawai'i's Jessica Iwata's homer to left field brought in teammate Tara Anguiano to finish out the scoring.

Up next for the Cougars is a game at Idaho State on Monday, Apr. 9, at 4 p.m. MT in the first of a five-game week for BYU, including a home game Apr. 11 against Utah Valley and a three-game series beginning Friday, Apr. 13.