Four-Run Sixth Gives Cougars Win


LAS VEGAS - Hannah Howell threw eight strikeouts and Delaney Willard hit her fourth home run in six games as the BYU softball team defeated Portland State 4-1 on Thursday in the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic.

Willard went 2 for 2 with two RBI, a run and a walk and is now 11 for 19 (.579) in six games this season

Down 1-0 in the bottom of the sixth, Willard launched a pitch over the right field fence for a two-run homer, scoring herself and JC Clayton who had reached earlier on a single.

The Cougars kept up the pressure with two more runs, the first by Carly Duckworth on a double from Stacie Toney. After Lacey Millet legged out a single and Toney went to third, Millett reached second on a safe steal attempt while the late throw from the Viking catcher went high. With the ball sailing into the outfield, Millett went to third and Toney came home for BYU's fourth run.

Toney finished 2 for 3 with a hit and a run while Clayton also had two hits and a run scored.

Howell earned her first win of the season by scattering six hits with one run and one walk. The junior's eight strikeouts were one shy of a career high.

Freshman Caroline Umphlett came on in relief to earn the save after getting the third and final out on a comeback grounder to end the game with the bases loaded.

BYU will play Cal State Northridge at 3:45 p.m. PT followed by Memphis at 6 p.m. PT tomorrow.