Clayton breaks hit record in sweep of USD
SAN DIEGO—The BYU softball team shut out the USD Toreros to complete the weekend sweep and improve to 4-0 in Pacific Coast Softball action, beating USD 5-0 and 3-0 on Saturday at the USD Softball Complex.
JC Clayton, who was nominated to the watch list for Player of the Year in February, broke the all-time career record for hits at BYU. With four hits today, she surpassed Angie Quiocho to hold the new record of 269 career hits. Clayton also set a game record in game two against the Toreros for stolen bases in a game with four.
"This weekend's sweep was a great way to begin conference play," head coach Gordon Eakin said. "We played exceptional defense and our pitching was tremendous. It was a great team effort."
BYU (13-15, 3-0 PCSC) out-hit USD (15-15, 0-3 PCSC) 7-2 in the game and completed its second shutout of the season and first since playing Seattle on Feb. 8.
Tori Almond took the mound at the start of game one and sat down the Toreros in order in the first and second innings and held them hitless through 3.1 innings of work. Katie Manuma came in relief and earned her first win as a Cougar pitcher after holding USD to just two hits in her 3.2 innings pitched. Both pitchers held the Toreros hitless until the bottom of the fifth.
Bailie Hicken led the Cougars offensively as the designated hitter, with two hits and a career-high 2 RBI's in the game. Marissa Bravo also contributed two hits and scored two runs.
Both teams went scoreless through the first and second inning. BYU broke the scoreboard in the top of the third as Clayton reached first base on an error to start the inning. A sacrifice bunt and a single from Bravo placed runners on the corners and Manuma walked to load the bases. Another walk scored the first BYU run and then Hicken answered with a single to left field to bring in two runs and put BYU up 3-0.
The Cougars started where they left off in the top of the fourth and scored two runs. Bravo highlighted the inning with a single to right field and took advantage of another Torero fielding error to circle the bases for BYU.
Clayton and Carly Duckworth put singles together in the top of the fifth, but two fly outs sealed the inning.
The Toreros placed runners on second and third in the bottom of the fifth and the top of the sixth, but Manuma and the Cougar defense were able to hold USD from crossing home to solidify the victory.
Clayton, who broke the all-time hit record at BYU and set a new record for stolen bases in a game, hit three of BYU's (14-15, 4-0 PCSC) five hits to help her team sweep San Diego (16-15, 0-4 PCSC).
"JC has been a cornerstone on our team for four years now," Eakin said. "She is a complete player. This record could stand for a very long time."
BYU took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first following three-straight singles from Clayton, Lacey Millett and Duckworth. After her single to center field, Clayton stole second and advanced to third on an infield single from Millett. Duckworth followed suit with a bunt single to load the bases. A hit by pitch and a fielding error scored both runs for the Cougars before USD was able to close out the inning.
Hannah Howell got her second start against the Toreros and held them to just one hit in the first three innings. She also contributed offensively with her first career-hit after singling up the middle in the top of the fifth.
BYU added one more run to its lead in the top of the fourth. Madisen Robb was hit by a pitch and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Ashlee Brawley Robinson. Clayton singled to advance Robb to third and then stole her second base of the game to place runners on second and third for Duckworth. Duckworth hit a hard ball to third base to score Robb and cushion BYU’s lead.
USD looked to grab some momentum in the bottom of the frame after a lead-off single from Lauren Tomey, but BYU’s defense instead turned its second double play of the day to clear the bases. BYU also turned a 6-3 double play in the bottom of the sixth to end the inning.
Howell (5-10) pitched through six innings, giving up no runs on five hits to earn the win. Manuma came in to relieve Howell after she gave up a single to start the top of the seventh. Manuma retired the next three batters in order to earn her third save of the season and give BYU the 3-0 victory.
BYU will return home for a three-game series against Houston starting on Mar. 30 at 6 p.m. MDT. The game will be broadcast live on BYU Radio-Sirius XM 143.
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