Softball splits game on last day of Classic

SAN DIEGO—An 11-hit outing against New Mexico helped lift BYU to a 6-1 victory in its first game of the day, but three home runs and four errors ended the Cougars action at the San Diego Classic with a 12-3 loss to Long Beach State on Saturday in San Diego. 

Game 1

Tori Almond pitched a four-inning two-hitter en route to her fourth win of the season and Hannah Howell earned her first save of the season after coming in to start the fifth inning and holding the Lobos to no hits. JC Clayton, Marissa Bravo and Carly Duckworth each contributed with two hits apiece and combined for four of the six Cougar RBI.

A walk to Duckworth and a single from Coryn Taualii in the bottom of the second brought in the first Cougar run.

New Mexico answered with a one-run top of the third after its lead-off batter singled to start the inning. She was able to make it all the way around to tie the game up at 1-1.

BYU took back the lead in the bottom of the frame as Bailie Hicken and Bravo singled to put runners on second and third. Alexandra Hudson Shamo walked to load the bases and Duckworth singled to shortstop, scoring Hicken to put BYU up 2-1.

Another two runs crossed the plate for the Cougars in the bottom of the fourth. Ashlee Brawley Robinson earned the first extra-base hit of the game with a double down the left field line and Clayton followed suit, ripping a pitch down the right field line for a triple. A single from Bravo brought in Clayton to place BYU ahead, 4-1.

With the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth inning, Clayton struck again, this time with a single through the right side to score one run. A passed ball allowed another run to score and the Cougars held the five-run cushion to take the 6-1 victory.

Game 2

Although BYU (7-13) was able to hold the 49ers' (11-6) first three batters to no hits, four Cougar errors and three 49er home runs made up the difference and allowed Long Beach State to score 12 runs on seven hits in the game.

Mylee Davis and Katie Manuma each had two hits and Manuma’s home run in the top of the third scored the only BYU runs. Manuma also pitched 2.2 innings in the game, but the loss was given to Howell who left the game trailing 4-3. Clayton also had a hit in the game to extend her hitting streak to 19 games on the season.

Long Beach State took the 3-0 lead after blasting two home runs in the bottom of the second. However, BYU quickly responded as Lacey Millett and Bravo singled to bring Manuma up to the plate at the start of the third. Manuma came up big and smacked a 2-2 pitch over the left field fence to tie the game up at 3-3 for her fourth home run of the season. She has hit a home run in every tournament of the season thus far, including a grand slam in the Mary Nutter Classic last weekend.

The 49ers wouldn’t go down easy, though, and regained the lead in the bottom of the third. A ground out and attempted steal looked to end the inning, but a walk from Howell gave Long Beach State an opening. The 49ers took advantage and laced two-straight singles to bring in one run and force a BYU pitching change. Almond replaced Howell and, after walking the first batter and allowing a run to score on a wild pitch, got out of the jam after an interference was called on the runner moving from first to second.

The bottom of the fourth was plagued by Cougar errors and the 49ers took advantage, scoring five unearned runs on three errors, two walks and a double. Manuma entered to pitch after Almond made a throwing error and gave up a walk, but still gave up three runs in the inning.

BYU put two runners on to start the fifth, following a single from Shamo and a walk from Duckworth, but the bottom of the lineup couldn’t bring in a run.

In the bottom of the frame, BYU needed to hold the 49ers off the plate to avoid the mercy run-rule. Manuma was able to hold the Long Beach State batters at bay and the Cougars escaped to the bottom of the fifth, still down 10-3. 

BYU loaded the bases in the top of the sixth following two walks and a single from Manuma, but the Cougars couldn’t convert. 

Manuma got the first two batters out in the bottom of the frame, but a double and another home run gave Long Beach State the runs its needed to end the game early with a 12-3 victory. 

BYU will play next on Mar. 7-9 in the USF Under Armour Showcase in Clearwater, Florida. 

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