(Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah – Beating the highest ranked opponent that has ever come to Gail Miller Field, BYU softball earned a 6-5 victory over No. 2 Oregon Tuesday night.
“I thought they hung tough and McKenna (Bull) threw a great game for a freshman throwing against Oregon,” BYU head coach Gordon Eakin said. “Tori came in and held it together. She did a nice job to get the big out at the end. I think I saw a calmness and confidence even right down through the last inning, even after two homeruns.”
Senior pitcher Tori Almond relieved McKenna Bull in the seventh to help save the BYU (11-18) win after Oregon (27-4) attempted to come back from a five-run deficit in the top of that inning.
The Cougars, who have not lost a home opener since 2004, produced each of their six runs in the second inning and held the Ducks to just one run through the first six innings.
Ashley Thompson led off the second drilling the ball to center for a stand-up double. McKenzie St. Clair followed with a one-out line drive up the middle to advance Thompson. Ashlee Robinson reached first base on a fielding error by the pitcher, bringing in the first run of the game and keeping the bases loaded. The pitcher walked in the next run, handing the Cougars the two-run lead.
After two fake bunts at the plate, Lacey Millett Hofstedt lined one over the right fielder’s head for an in-the-park grand slam, her first career extra-base hit. The Cougars led the Ducks 6-0 at the end of the second.
“It was awesome,” Eakin said referring to Hofstedt’s grand slam. “When Lacey gets running it’s hard to stop her. I tried to stop her at third, but I couldn’t. It actually turned out to be a really good thing because that’s the run that won the ball game.”
The Ducks got their first run on the board in the third inning on a fielding error and a single. The Cougars held them to just the one run, retiring the Ducks after five batters.
Neither the Cougars nor the Ducks produced anything in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, leaving the score at 6-1.
In the seventh inning, the Ducks came back from a five-run deficit, but left the tying run on base. Their rally started with a three-run homerun over center field with only one out. After six and a third innings, Bull (4-7) was relieved by Tori Almond who closed the game in a save situation. Oregon hit a solo shot over the left-field fence, bringing the tying run to the plate with two outs. With a full count, Almond earned her second save of the year striking the final Oregon batter out swinging.
BYU hosts Idaho State for a three-game series Friday and a double-header Saturday. Friday's game at 6 p.m. MDT will be broadcast live on theW.tv.