TUCSON, Ariz. – BYU softball’s late rally was not enough to overcome No. 10 James Madison, falling 10-6 in its last game of the Wildcat Invitational on Saturday.
“We fought hard today,” BYU head coach Gordon Eakin said. “Offensively, we did a nice job on their starting pitcher, chasing her out of the game late in the game. The long weekend of high-level competition took a toll on McKenna (Bull) and our pitching was just a little off. But overall, I was pleased with our performance and fight against good competition.”
BYU (12-8) was outhit by James Madison (15-1) 13-10 in the game. The Cougars were error-free, however, for the first time since the win over Bethune-Cookman on Feb. 25 this season. BYU finished the Wildcat Invitational with a 3-2 record, including the upset of No. 15 Arizona on Thursday night.
This game was Madison Merrell’s second-consecutive game with three RBI and the second of her career. It was also her second game in a row with a home run. Gordy Bravo added two RBI in the loss. The offense scored six runs on James Madison's pitcher Megan Good, whose ERA is in the top five in the nation. All three of BYU’s pitchers saw time in the circle in this game with McKenna Bull leading the effort with five strikeouts and four walks.
The Dukes got on the board first after stealing home in the top of the first. However, the Cougars responded with a pair of RBI from Libby Sugg and Merrell to take the 2-1 lead early on.
The hot hitting continued in the game with back-to-back solo home runs for James Madison in the second inning, taking back the 3-2 advantage. Bull struck out two to end the inning and stop anymore runs from scoring.
The teams were scoreless in the third, but the Dukes struck again in the top of the fourth after a sacrifice bunt brought in another run, pushing their lead to 4-2 over the Cougars.
After another scoreless inning, James Madison collected three more runs in the top of the sixth. Merrell responded with a two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth to close in on the gap, making it a 7-4 deficit.
In the seventh, the Dukes put the game away, scoring three more runs to push their lead to 10-4. Bravo’s triple in the bottom of the seventh brought in two runs, making it 10-6.
Next weekend the Cougars will travel to Oklahoma to play four games, including two against the Sooners.