“It’s nice to come back and score 19 runs in seven innings, so that’s a positive thing going into the weekend," BYU head coach Gordon Eakin. "We just need to clean up our pitching and not wait so long to get started.”
BYU (21-15) had 22 hits on the day and scored 19 runs in five of the last seven innings over SUU (7-29, 3-3 Big Sky). The Cougars gave up six runs in both games of the twinbill against the Thunderbirds.
Thompson had four hits, four RBI and two runs over the course of two games. Sugg finished with four hits, three RBI and three runs. Caitlyn Larsen had two hits, three RBI and one run on the day. McKenna Bull finished the night with nine strikeouts and Olivia Sanchez retired three batters. Bull and Sanchez combined for three walks on the day.
The first game of the doubleheader went to Southern Utah, its second-consecutive win over BYU in Provo. The Thunderbirds won 6-5 in extra innings. Bull led the Cougars from the circle with nine strikeouts and just two walks. Larsen and Coco Tauali'i Bond had two RBI apiece in the loss.
Facing a 5-0 deficit in the bottom of the seventh, the Cougars rallied to tie the game in dramatic fashion.
A one-out single to left by Lauren Bell got BYU on base before the second out of the frame. Consecutive singles by Sugg and Madison Merrell extended the game as Bell scored first for the Cougars. Alexa Strid walked after a wild pitch to load the bases with two outs.
Consecutive doubles then completed the rally, tying the game at five apiece. Larsen’s double to center scored Merrell and Sugg. Bond followed with a double to left, scoring Larsen and Strid before the end of the seventh.
The teams played an eighth inning with the tiebreak rule, placing a runner on second base to speed the end of the game along. A two-out double over the left fielder’s head drove in the deciding run in the top of the eighth for SUU. BYU got its runner to third but couldn’t rally again, ending the game.
The regional foes fought to a scoreless tie through the first five innings as the Cougars and Thunderbirds took turns with defense and occasional offensive threats. The Thunderbirds struck first in the top of the sixth with two runs on a two-out double into the left-center gap the 2-0 deficit heading to the bottom of the sixth.
BYU put two on base with Strid’s one-out double and Larsen’s hit-by-pitch, but the margin held. Southern Utah drilled a three-run shot in the top of the seventh to lead 5-0 heading into the potential final half inning.
BYU left 11 runners on base to SUU’s seven.
In the rematch against Southern Utah, BYU led the game in all five innings. The Cougars outhit the Thunderbirds 12-9 in their 14-6 win. Thompson led the team with a season-high four RBI on two hits. Sanchez started pitching in the second game, throwing three strikeouts and one walk.
BYU jumped out to an early lead in the first inning when Bell hit a single to second base to bring in Gordy Bravo for the first run of the game. Sugg doubled to left field and a bunt from Thompson sent Bell home to push the lead to 2-0 in favor of the Cougars.
SUU scored one run in the second inning, but BYU extended its lead to 7-1 in the bottom of the third. On a wild pitch, Bravo scored as Lexi Tarrow advanced to second and Bell to third. Thompson stepped up to the plate and hit a single out to the pitcher, securing her second RBI of the game as Bell scored. Emilee Erickson doubled to left field, sending Sugg and Tarrow in. Larsen flied out to center field to get Thompson home, ending the third inning with five runs.
The Thunderbirds rallied back in the fourth inning, scoring four runs to come within two of the Cougars. With a double to center field, Sugg sent Tarrow home. Thompson stepped up to bat next and hit it out of the park, marking her fifth home run of the season. Sugg and Thompson’s runs brought the Cougars up 10-5 at the end of the fourth inning.
In the fifth inning, SUU scored one run, but it couldn’t hold BYU back as it scored four runs to end the game due to run rule the in-state foe. McKenzie St. Clair hit a home run out to left center, sending Bond to home plate. A double from Merrell placed Bell at third base as Sugg took the bat and doubled to left field to get the last two runs to end the game on the mercy rule, 14-6.
The Cougars take on Loyola Marymount in a double header on Friday, April 8th at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. MDT. Live stats can be found on the BYU schedule page.