BYU softball takes two games, extends win streak to eight
SAN DIEGO - Sophomore pitcher McKenna Bull's pitching and key defensive plays led BYU softball to its eighth consecutive victory and two wins in the first day of the San Diego Classic II Thursday.
The Cougars (15-6) topped Long Beach State 2-1 in the first game before taking a 3-1 decision over San Diego State. BYU improved to 9-3 in games decided by two runs or less.
"It was two quality wins over two very good teams," BYU head coach Gordon Eakin said. "Our offense was a little rusty from not playing last weekend, but our defense and pitching were solid. McKenna Bull just threw lights out."
Bull improved to 15-3 on the season, allowing only seven hits and one earned run while striking out seven through 14 innings pitched.
From the plate, sophomore Lauren Bell hit 3-for-5 on the day with a triple and a run scored. Junior Gordy Bravo hit her first home run of the season while going 2-for-6 on the day, extending her reached-base streak to 22 games.
Sydney Broderick notched a 2-for-6 day with a triple and one RBI while Lacey Hofstedt also had two hits in six at-bats with her 12th stolen base of the year, surpassing her 2014 season total of 11. Coco Tauali'i notched her second home run of the season in the first game, and Ashley Thompson collected an RBI in the second game.
The game against the 49ers (10-17) showcased a pitcher's duel with both teams displaying confidence from the circle.
After two scoreless innings, the Cougars struck with two runs in the top of the third. Up to bat first, Tauali'i homered to left field. Later in the inning with two outs, Bravo came to the plate, blasting her first home run of the season—a solo shot down the right field line for the 2-0 BYU lead. Bell then hit a triple that landed on the fence and was six inches away from being the third homer of the inning.
The two solo shots proved to be the difference makers as the Cougars reached third in both the fifth and seventh frames, but couldn't tack on any other runs.
Long Beach State threatened in the bottom of the seventh, breaking onto the scoreboard for the first time in the game on a single to left with runners on second and third. With runners on the corners, BYU then got the final out on a grounder to second for the play at first and the team's seventh win in a row.
Bull started in the circle in game two, getting out of the first inning with a runner on third and escaping the second with runners on second and third.
The scoreless game continued until BYU broke into the run column in the bottom of the third on Thompson's 15th RBI of the season. Her single to left center scored Bravo who reached base earlier in the frame after being hit by a pitch.
San Diego State (15-9) evened the score with one run in the top of the fourth, tacking on an unearned run after a throwing error.
The Cougars broke the tie in the next inning. Bell scored for the 2-1 lead before Broderick tripled down the left field line two batters later for the RBI. Mercedes O'Connor scored for the 3-1 advantage and the eventual final tally.
The Aztecs put a runner aboard in the top of the sixth but didn't threaten. BYU then retired the side in the top of the seventh to clinch the win.
The Cougars face No. 15 Baylor Friday at 5:30 p.m. MDT. Audio streaming and live statistics are available through the BYU softball schedule page.