SALT LAKE CITY – McKenna Bull gave up just one hit as she and No. 21 BYU shutout Mississippi State 8-0 in six innings in the opening game of the NCAA Salt Lake City Regional on Thursday.
“That was a complete-team win," BYU head coach Gordon Eakin said. "We had timely hitting and excellent defense. When our team plays together like this, we are tough to beat."
BYU improved to 45-11 after winning its opening game of the NCAA regionals. Mississippi State drops to 36-21 after struggling defensively, committing three errors. The Cougars out-hit the Bulldogs 13-1.
Bull pitched a complete-shutout against the Bulldogs. She had just one strikeout, but gave up only one hit. Sophomore Lexi Tarrow went 3 for 4 in the win, almost hitting for the cycle with a single, double and triple. Every player in the lineup notched at least one hit in the win.
The Cougars threatened to score in the bottom of the first. After Lauren Bell was walked, Tarrow’s bunt found the gap between the defenders for a single. Ashley Thompson’s hit to the shortstop was mishandled, allowing all baserunners to be safe. However, all three were left stranded, keeping it even at 0-0.
Alexa Strid started off the bottom of the second with a solo shot over left field. After Brooke Vander Heide reached first on an error, Rylee Jensen hit an RBI single right up the middle to push the lead to 2-0.
In the top of the third, the defense came up big to keep the Bulldogs without a hit. Vander Heide had a diving catch to get the lead-off hitter out. For the third out, Thompson stretched out for Alldredge’s throw, just barely getting the out.
Alldredge came up to bat in the bottom of the third, facing her second bases-loaded situation, and hit a fielder’s choice up the middle to score Tarrow. With Briielle Breland at the plate, Alldredge and Madison Merrell, pinch running for Libby Sugg, executed a double steal to score Merrell. Then Breland singled to the third baseman, bringing in Alldredge to extend the lead to 5-0.
The Cougars added to their lead in the bottom of the fourth. Following a double from Bell, Tarrow drilled a triple to right center, bringing home Bell. BYU was up 6-0 heading into the fifth inning.
Thompson brought in another run in the bottom of the sixth. She knocked a hit back to the center-field wall, popping off the centerfielder’s glove and scoring Bell.
BYU will now move into the winner’s bracket, playing tomorrow at 1 p.m. MDT at the Dumke Family Softball Stadium. The Cougars will face Utah after the Utes defeated Fordham on Thursday.