Manuma and Duckworth step it up to lead BYU past Maine

Bravo had two hits in the first game and earned the game-winning RBI in game two against Maine on Thursday. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey)

TAMPA, Fla.—A three-run bottom of the fourth allowed the BYU softball team to defeat Maine, 6-4, in the first game of its doubleheader on Thursday and Bravo's one-out double scored the winning run to give BYU the 3-2 victory in game two at the USF Softball Stadium.

"It’s a step in the right direction," head coach Gordon Eakin said. "We didn’t have Tori (Almond) or Caroline (Umphlett) available to pitch today and Hannah's (Howell) been sick, so it was nice to see the fight we had in the game and the willingness for Katie (Manuma) and Carly (Duckworth) to step up and do a quality job from the mound. I thought both Katie and Carly stepped up offensively and on the mound so I was proud of both of them today. ”

Game 1

Maine (1-12) outhit BYU (8-13) 10-7 in the first game of the day, but BYU was able to smack three extra-base hits to push in six runs in the game.

Marissa Bravo and Katie Manuma each led with two hits apiece, including two RBI from Bravo and a run scored from Manuma. Jenna Goar also hit her first long ball of the year, with a solo shot in the bottom of the second to put BYU up 2-0.

Hannah Howell earned the win after giving up four runs on seven hits. Manuma grabbed the save after relieving Howell in the top of the fourth and holding the Black Bears to no runs on three hits.

The Cougars broke the scoreboard in the bottom of the first after Carly Duckworth tripled to center field in the two spot. Bravo followed with a single up the middle to bring in the first run. Goar’s shot in the bottom of the second extended BYU’s lead to 2-0.

The Black Bear’s took back one run in the top of the third following two lead-off singles.

BYU was quiet in the bottom of the frame, but dealt a three-run blow to Maine in the bottom of the fourth. Manuma singled to lead off the inning and scored following a sacrifice bunt from Alexandra Hudson Shamo and a Maine error. With two runners on, Ashlee Brawley Robinson singled, but was called out trying to stretch the hit into a double. The hit did score both runs, though unearned.

A two-run fifth from Maine cut the BYU lead to one run at 5-4. The Bear’s lead-off hitter smacked a double to left field and scored as Maine’s second baseman blasted a dinger over the left field fence.

BYU brought in a security run in the bottom of the frame as Duckworth circled the bases after reaching on an error. A stolen base and an illegal pitch put her into scoring position as Bravo was able to bring her in on a bunt single to put the Cougars up 6-4.

BYU held the lead to take the 6-4 victory. 

Game 2

A one-out double down the left-field line from Bravo scored JC Clayton for the go-ahead run and ultimately the winning run as the Cougars held the Black Bears in the bottom of the seventh inning to take the 3-2 victory.  The win helps BYU improve to 9-13 on the season, while Maine falls to 1-13.

"That was a very timely hit," Eakin said in response to Bravo's double. "When it was time to step up, she stepped up and that was a big RBI." 

Clayton bounced back from her no-hit game in the first matchup against Maine with two hits, two runs scored and one RBI. Duckworth and Bailie Hicken also had two-hit games for the Cougars.

Manuma took the mound at the start of game two and shut down the Black Bears through five innings. In the bottom of the sixth, she surrendered two runs to Maine off a two-run homer and was relieved by Duckworth. Duckworth pitched out of the jam and sealed the bottom of the seventh to earn her first win as a Cougar pitcher.

The game was quiet until the top of the third when BYU pushed in two runs on four hits. Hicken singled to start the inning and scored off a double from Clayton. Manuma and Duckworth each added a single, scoring Clayton to put BYU up 2-0.

BYU looked like it had the game won heading into the bottom of the sixth, but Maine took advantage of Manuma’s tiring arm with a two-run blast to tie up the game. However, BYU answered in the top of the seventh as Clayton hit a chopper off the plate and sped down the first-base line to lead off. Lacey Millett followed with a sacrifice bunt, which placed Clayton in scoring position. Bravo took advantage, blistering a double down the line to score Clayton and give BYU the 3-2 victory.

BYU will take a break on Friday before heading to Clearwater, Fla., to take on LIU Brooklyn at 11:45 a.m. EST and Providence College at 2:30 p.m. EST on Saturday.

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