Cougars rally to down Roos in 2024 season opener, 17-8

BYU softball overcame an eight-run deficit with 17 unanswered runs to beat Missouri-Kansas City in game one of the Paradise Classic on Thursday.

Maddie Bejarano celebrates after hit in the Paradise Classic against Missouri-Kansas City on February 8, 2024Maddie Bejarano celebrates after hit in the Paradise Classic against Missouri-Kansas City on February 8, 2024

MĀNOA, Hawai'i — BYU softball rallied from eight down to defeat Missouri-Kansas City 17-8 in game one of the University of Hawaii’s Paradise Classic on Thursday.

"Our team showed great resilience today," BYU head coach Gordon Eakin said. "We overcame two slow starts and came away with two nice team victories".


The Cougars earned a comeback victory, scoring eight runs in the fifth inning and 17 unanswered to take down the Roos. BYU faced an eight-run deficit at the end of the first inning., relying on senior Maddie Bejarano who brought in five runs and four hits, recording a 3-run home run in the process. Chloe Temples earned the win, pitching two innings and registering three strikeouts.

Player Highlights

  • Maddie Bejarano: 4-4, 3 R, HR, 5 RBI
  • Keila Kamoku: 2-3, BB, 2 RBI
  • Tristen Turlington: 1-2, 2 R, RBI
  • Chloe Temples: 2 IP, 1 H, 3 K

A shaky first inning saw the Cougars give up eight runs on five hits and three walks. The first run came off a walk from Gianna Mares, walking in a Roo with loaded bases, two outs and a full count. Moments later, Missouri-Kansas City knocked in two more runs off a single up the middle to move up 3-0 on BYU. After a pitching change to Kate Dahle, the Cougars dropped two more runs, with a Roo hitting a single to right field. 

A scoreless second inning for both sides saw Kelia Kamoku get walked for the Cougars. The Roos closed out the top of the second inning, managing a double play from a grounder to shortstop by Maddie Udall and a groundout to third from Macy Simmons. Swapping sides, the Cougars stabilized, knocking down three straight batters with Dahle striking out the last Roo looking.

Bejarano homered over the right center field fence in the top of the third inning, bringing in three runs to jumpstart the Cougars' offense. It was the senior's ninth career home run and 43rd RBI. Moving to the bottom of the inning, Dahle quickly struck out the first two batters swinging. A pop-out to third led the Cougars back to the plate.

BYU rallied again in the fourth inning, scoring three runs to bring the game back within two, 8-6. Lily Owens led the charge for the Cougars, earning a single on a hit over to shortstop. Aleia Agbayani saw her own single up the middle to advance Owens to third. Ailana Agbayani followed her sister, getting on base on a fielder's error, which brought home two more runs for Cougars. Bejarano added another run to the board by hitting a double to left field, which brought home Ailana Agbayani. 

The Cougars took the lead in the fifth inning, 14-8, scoring eight runs on just four hits. Huntyr Ava and Hailey Morrow each received walks to open the inning. Kamoku singled up the middle to bring home a run. Owens then dropped down a sacrifice bunt to advance baserunners. Tristen Turlington came to pinch hit for Simmons, hitting a single to left side to bring home Morrow. A wild pitch from Missouri-Kansas City brought home the third run of the inning for BYU to take the lead 9-8.

The fifth inning onslaught continued on a double steal, with Turlington stealing home while Ailana Agbayani stole second to go up 10-8 on the Roos. Two more walks followed to load the bases. A fielding error by Missouri-Kansas City brought in another run, allowing Ava to reach first. Morrow then singled to center field, bringing home two more runs. Kamoku found a gap in the outfield for a single and brought in the Cougars eighth and final run of the inning. Temples came in to pitch for the Cougars, retiring the Roos with zero hits and one left on base. 

The top of the sixth inning saw the Cougars earn three more runs on two hits. Bejarano hit a short shot to the pitcher to manage a single and bring in her fifth run of the game. Violet Zavodnik immediately followed with a double to right center field to bring home two more runs, putting the Cougars up 17-8 on the Roos. Temples closed out the game, striking out the last two batters swinging. 

The Cougars will continue Paradise Classic play against Ole Miss in game two of Thursday's doubleheader, with first pitch slated for 2 p.m. HST. Live stats will be available on Stat Broadcast.