Cougars split games on day two of Red Desert Classic

Almond had 13 strikeouts in her first start of the season. (Photo by Jonathan Hardy/BYU Photo)

ST. GEORGE, Utah—Tori Almond highlighted BYU’s first game of the day against Seattle with a career-high 13 strikeouts to take the 10-0 win at the Canyons Complex on Friday though the Cougars dropped the second game 14-6 to Nevada.

Game 1

BYU’s (1-1) offense came out strong in the first game, scoring 10 runs on 12 hits to defeat Seattle (0-1). Tori Almond pitched her first shutout of the season, giving up only three hits on no walks and 13 strikeouts. Offensively, Marissa Bravo led the way for BYU going 3 for 3 with two runs and an RBI. JC Clayton also went 2 for 4 with two runs and an RBI for the Cougars. Katie Manuma hit the only long ball of the game with a two-run shot to center-field.

BYU jumped on the scoreboard early to give Almond a two-run lead heading into the bottom of the first. Clayton started the run with a single up the middle and advanced to second on a hit from Bailie Hicken. Bravo struck next with a blooper to right left field to grab her first hit and RBI as a Cougar, driving in Clayton. BYU punched in one more run after two walks and a fielder’s choice brought in Bravo to go up 2-0.

Almond had a six-pitch first inning, sitting down the first three batters she faced. In the bottom of the second, Almond held the Redhawks to no hits once again and struck out three batters to send BYU to the top of the third.

Seattle spoiled Almond’s no-hitter in the bottom of the fourth with a leadoff double, but BYU answered with three straight outs.

Manuma grabbed a cushion for BYU in the top of the sixth with a two-run shot to left-center field to put BYU up 4-0.

BYU broke the game wide open in the top of the seventh, scoring six runs. Madisen Robb, Coryn Tauali’i  and Clayton hit three-straight  singles to start the rally and bring in the first run. Jenna Goar, Mylee Davis and Ashlee Brawley Robinson each converted on pinch-hit opportunities. Goar had a single for one RBI, Davis found a gap to bring in two runs and Robinson found a hole in right-center field to clear the bases and bring the score to 10-0 in favor of BYU.

BYU would roll to earn its first win of the season.

Game 2

Hannah Howell took the mound at the start of the second game and after a two-inning hiatus re-entered to relieve Almond and finish the game but the Cougars dropped the contest 14-6 to Nevada.

Howell gave up only three earned runs and had seven strikeouts in the game. Lacey Millett highlighted the Cougar offense with three hits, two runs and two stolen bases. Clayton and Bravo also finished with two hits apiece.

BYU (1-2) allowed Nevada (1-0) to score seven runs in the first four innings to find themselves in a 7-1 hole.

The Cougars started to chip away at the Wolfpack lead in the bottom of the fourth with Robinson and Davis singling up the middle to start. Clayton then made it to first on a fielder’s choice and Robinson advanced to third. Millett brought Robinson in and Clayton scored on a bunt single from Manuma. BYU then scored one more run on a wild pitch to bring the score to 7-4.

Nevada took back its three runs and more in the top of the fifth. The Wolfpack capitalized on a Cougar throwing error to push through four unearned runs and open up their lead to 12-4.

BYU needed a run in the bottom of the fifth to avoid the run rule and Bravo delivered with two outs and the bases loaded with a bloop hit that fell just out of the reach of the second baseman, but it would be all the Cougars would get, still down 12-5.

With the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the sixth, Clayton snuck a ball up the middle to bring in Carly Duckworth and take the score to 12-6 but it wasn't enough as Nevada would go on to score two more runs to earn the 14-6 victory. 

BYU plays in its last day of the Red Desert Classic tomorrow and will start the day against Tennessee at 1:30 p.m. MT and will then play Idaho State at 4 p.m. MT. The Tennessee game will be streamed live on utsports.com and the Idaho State game will be available via gametracker.

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