Eleven runs helps BYU start conference play on a high note

Hannah Howell earned her fourth win in game one against the Toreros. (Photo by Mark Philbrick)

SAN DIEGO—The BYU softball team capitalized on six San Diego errors and smacked 16 hits en route to a sweep on day one of conference play, defeating the Toreros 9-1 and 2-1 in a doubleheader at the USD Softball Complex on Friday. 

"The team fought hard today and got two quality wins to open conferencey play," head coach Gordon Eakin said. "Our pitchers, Hannah, Tori and Katie, pieced together a great effort on the mound."

Game 1

BYU out-hit USD 13-6 in game one and capitalized on four Torero errors. Three Cougars had two hits, while Alexandra Hudson Shamo led the team with three. Eight out of the nine BYU starters had at least one hit in the game. JC Clayton scored a season-high three runs in the game as well.

Hannah Howell (4-10) scattered just six hits across her seven innings pitched and struck out seven to earn the win.

BYU put the pressure on USD early, taking advantage of a one-out single from Coryn Taualii to grab the 1-0 lead in the second. With Taualii on first, Bailie Hicken laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt and forced a Torero throwing error to bring in Taualii for the first run of the game.

Katie Manuma smoked a two-out double up the middle to extend her hitting streak to a career-high eight games and score Clayton in the top of third, who reached on a Torero error.

A lead-off double from USD threatened to cut BYU’s lead in the bottom of the frame, but the Cougar defense answered with three-straight outs to hold the score at 2-0.  

USD’s third error of the game cost the Toreros again in the top of the fifth as USD’s left fielder misplayed a single from Clayton and allowed her to make it all the way to third base. Carly Duckworth scored Clayton with a double to center field and added to the 3-0 lead after stealing third and crossing home on a wild pitch.  

USD’s Danielle Mavridis smacked her second double against Howell in the bottom of the fifth and a walk and a single later finally put USD on the board.

BYU took back that run and more in the top of the sixth, scoring four runs on four hits and one Torero error. Hicken, Clayton and Duckworth each singled in the inning and Marissa Bravo tripled for her first hit of the day. Ashlee Brawley Robinson added her first hit in the top of the seventh with a double to score Shamo and seal BYU’s 9-1 victory.

Game 2

BYU had just three hits in game two to USD's four, but BYU was able to improve to 12-15 overall and 2-0 in conference play, while San Diego falls to 15-14 and 0-2 in the PCSC. Bravo, Manuma and Hicken had the lone hits for the Cougars. 

Clayton caused havoc right away for USD in game two after reaching on an error. She stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error and then scored on a passed ball. Bravo earned a free pass on a walk and scored following Manuma’s second double of the day to give BYU the 2-0 lead.

Tori Almond (6-3) held the Toreros hitless through two innings and had some help from the defense, who turned its sixth double play of the season as Madisen Robb snatched a line drive at third base and threw to first to end the second inning. Almond pitched 5.1 innings and gave up only three hits and one run in the outing.

Both teams stayed quiet offensively until the bottom of the fifth when USD’s Kylie Ordos tripled to lead-off the inning. A long fly ball brought in Ordos to cut BYU’s lead in half at 2-1.

With one out in the bottom of the sixth, a single and an error placed a runner on second for USD. Manuma came in to relieve Almond at the mound and was able to keep the Toreros at bay to hold the 2-1 lead.

In the bottom of the seventh, Manuma held USD to one hit and no runs to earn her second save of the season and solidify the 2-1 win for BYU.

The Cougars will play the Toreros again tomorrow in a doubleheader starting at 12 p.m. PDT at the USD Softball Complex. 

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