Brigham Young University
May 20 | 04:30 PM
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Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University
Cameron Muh | Posted: 20 May 2021 | Updated: 30 Jul 2021
Cameron Muh

Cougars drop NCAA Tournament opener to Hokies

Image
Rylee Jensen at first base against San Diego

Tempe, Ariz. – BYU softball dropped its opening game of the NCAA Tournament, falling to No. 21 Virginia Tech 5-2 at Farrington Stadium on Thursday.

“We're never happy with a loss, but one of the things that this team needs to do is be resilient and bounce back tomorrow,” said BYU head coach Gordon Eakin. “I was not disappointed in the team's effort. I thought we executed our game plan pretty well on offense. Our goal was to not chase her rise ball and we didn't. Sometimes you have to tip your cap to the opponent because they outplayed you and I think that was the case today.”

Game Highlights:

  • Rylee Jensen hit a leadoff home run to left-center to start off the game with BYU ahead 1-0

Player Highlights:

  • Rylee Jensen: 1-2, 1 R, 1 RBI
  • Martha Epenesa: 1-2
  • Erin Miklus: 1-2

The Cougars jumped out to an early lead as Rylee Jensen opened the game with a solo home run to left-center, putting BYU up 1-0. 

Virginia Tech tied it up at 1-1 with a solo homer of their own in the second inning and then took a 4-1 lead in the third on four hits, a sacrifice fly and a passed ball. 

In the bottom of the fourth, Jensen threw a dagger from left-center in an attempt to get the Virginia Tech runner out at home. However, the umpires called the runner safe and the Hokies tacked on another run to make it 5-1. 

BYU rallied in the top of the seventh loading the bases on an Arissa Paulson walk, an Erin Miklus single and a Jensen walk. With only one out, HannahJo Peterson reached on a fielder’s choice, scoring Taryn Lennon, who pinch ran for Paulson, to make it 5-2. But, a pop-up from Violet Zavodnik ending BYU’s late rally.

The Cougars will now play the loser of Arizona State and Southern Illinois on Friday, May 21. The game is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. MDT and will be broadcast on ESPN3. 

 

 
Nate Slack | Posted: 16 May 2021 | Updated: 25 Jun 2021
Nate Slack

Cougars headed to Tempe Regional for first round of 2021 NCAA Tournament

Image
BYU Softball team on senior night against Dixie State

PROVO, Utah — After winning a 12th-consecutive conference title and clinching an automatic bid to the NCAA regionals, BYU softball will head to the Tempe Regional to take on Virginia Tech on Thursday, May 20, the NCAA revealed Sunday night. 

This will be the 16th-straight NCAA Regional appearance for BYU (36-15, 11-1 WCC) and 17th in program history. The Cougars won the West Coast Conference championship for the seventh time in as many years and have won conference titles the last 12 tries through four different leagues. 

The four-team, double-elimination tournament will take place May 20-22 at the Sun Devils' Alberta B. Farrington Stadium. The host Arizona State (32-14), will take on Southern Illinois (37-14), while BYU and Virginia Tech (33-13) match up in the first round. 

The top team from each of the 16 regional sites will advance to the NCAA Super Regionals held May 27-30 on eight campus sites. At each site, two teams play in a best-of-three tournament format. The winners from each site advance to the NCAA Women's College World Series (WCWS). 

NCAA Regional BYU Game Notes

The Cougars and Hokies will play at 7:30 p.m. EDT. The game will be televised on ESPN3. The remaining is as follows: 

Thursday: 

7:30 p.m. EDT — (Game 1) BYU vs. Virginia Tech

10:00 p.m. EDT — (Game 2) Arizona State vs. Southern Illinois 

Friday: 

4:00 p.m. EDT — (Game 3) Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2

6:30 p.m. EDT — (Game 4) Non-Winner Game 1 vs. Non-Winner Game 2

9:00 p.m. EDT — (Game 5) Non-Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4

Saturday: 

6:00 p.m. EDT — (Game 6) Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 5

8:30 p.m. EDT — (Game 7) If necessary

Opponent Outlook: 

Virginia Tech | Thursday, May 20 | 7:30 p.m. EDT | ESPN3

  • The Hokies finished the regular season with a 33-13 record, including 23-11 in ACC play. 
  • This is the first time the Cougars and Hokies will meet on the softball field.
  • Virginia Tech's last NCAA Tournament appearance was in 2019. The Hokies went 2-2 in the Lexington Regional.

Arizona State (32-14)

  • The Sun Devils went 32-14 this season, with 12-9 record in Pac-12 play.
  • This is the eight time Arizona State has hosted a Regional. The Sun Devils are 24-6 all-time during NCAA Regional play in Tempe.
  • BYU and Arizona State met in the Cougars' first two games of the season. The Sun Devils swept the doubleheader in Tempe, winning 7-2, and 7-5 in eight innings. Arizona State leads the all-time series, 12-0.

Southern Illinois (37-14) 

  • The Salukis finished the regular season with 37-14 while going 16-10 in the Missouri Valley Conference.
  • This is Southern Illinois' 12th NCAA Tournament appearance. The Salukis last played in the postseason in 2019.
  • BYU and Southern Illinois have previously met twice at the 2015 Puerto Vallarta College Challenge in Mexico. The Cougars beat the Salukis in both games, 8-0 and 8-1. 

BYU Storylines

  • The Cougars have won 24 of their last 26 games after starting the season 11-13. Included in those 24 wins is a series sweep against then-No. 25 Baylor and a walk-off thriller against Utah. 
  • Rylee Jensen broke four school records last week and is now No. 1 all-time in runs scored, doubles, games played and games started. 
  • Arissa Paulson eclipsed the 400-career strikeout milestone in game one of a doubleheader against Dixie State last week.
  • BYU will be looking to advance to the Super Regionals for just the second time in program history. The first and only appearance came in 2010. 
 

 
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