LOGAN, Utah – Behind scoring outbursts in the third and fourth innings, No. 22/23 BYU softball pulled out an 8-6 win at Utah State on Wednesday.
“This was a good win against a quality opponent,” BYU head coach Gordon Eakin said. “Utah State has been playing great softball. They jumped out on us 3-0, but our team did a great job fighting its way back and taking the lead. Arissa Paulson came in and shut down their offense, which was key to our win.”
Libby Sugg and Briielle Breland both hit homers for the Cougars in the win. BYU (24-10, 0-0 West Coast Conference) improves to 6-0 when hitting two or more home runs in a game. The eight runs scored by the Cougars were the most scored since a 10-4 win against Maine last month. The crowd of 603 that came out to watch the in-state matchup was the highest Utah State (23-9, 6-3 Mountain West) attendance since 2007.
Sugg led BYU in RBI with four and Breland notched two from her bomb in the top of the fourth. McKenna Bull pitched 4.1 innings for the Cougars, improving her season record to 17-4 after throwing six strikeouts. Arissa Paulson came in relief in the fifth, tossing four strikeouts to save the game for BYU.
The Aggies got on board first in the bottom of the second. They brought in three unearned runs, including two runs from a double to right center. Bull threw a strikeout for the third out, ending the inning with the Cougars down 3-0.
In the top of the fourth, the Cougars piled on the runs, facing three different Aggie pitchers in the process. With Caitlyn Larsen Alldredge on first, Breland hit her second career home run to give BYU a 5-3 lead. In the next at bat, Brooke Vander Heide doubled to right field, keeping the hot hitting going. Bell hit a double of her own with two runners on, bringing them both home. A few at bats later, Sugg’s ground out gave Bell time to reach home for the fifth run of the inning. At the end of the frame, BYU’s lead jumped up to 9-3.
After holding Utah State scoreless for two innings, a three-run home run in the bottom of the fifth closed the gap. Paulson, in to relieve Bull, got the third out with a strikeout to keep BYU’s 8-6 lead.
The Aggies’ reliever Kelli White handled the Cougars’ offense, forcing BYU to go three up, three down in the last three innings of the game. The Cougars were unable to extend their two-run advantage but were able to rely on their defense to hold on to the lead. Paulson earned the save as the defense made Utah State go three up, three down in the final frame, giving BYU the 8-6 win.
WCC play begins this weekend for BYU at Loyola Marymount. The Cougars play a single game on Friday at 2 p.m. PDT and a doubleheader on Saturday starting at noon PDT.