TEMPE, Ariz. – A no-hitter by McKenna Bull and Libby Sugg's three RBI led BYU softball to an 8-0 win over San Jose State and a doubleheader split after a 15-3 setback against No. 8 Tennessee at the Kajikawa Classic on Thursday.
“Today was a good start to the season," BYU head coach Gordon Eakin said. "We played good softball in the first game against San Jose State. Though we played very competitive softball for five of the seven innings against Tennessee, we let the game get away from us. They are a very good team and we learned from that experience, but we feel like we can clean those innings up and be where we need to be."
Bull threw the program's first no-hitter since April 4, 2014, when Bull, Ashley Thompson and Tori Almond combined to no-hit UVU. For the first time since 2007, the Cougars (1-1) began the season with a run-rule shortened game as BYU got up 8-0 over the Spartans (0-1) in the sixth inning. Sugg led the offensive effort on the day with six RBI on three hits while Lauren Bell collected five hits in seven at-bats, including a double, over the two games. As a team, BYU had a .333 batting average after the first day of the season.
Junior pitcher Bull threw her first solo no-hitter of her career with five strikeouts and three walks in six innings against the Spartans. Sugg led the team with three RBI on two hits, which is tied for the most runs batted in by player in her first game in BYU softball history. Four Cougars hit .500 or better in the win.
BYU got off to a hot start against San Jose State. In her first career at-bat, Sugg singled to center for an RBI, bringing Gordy Bravo home for the early 1-0 lead in the top of the first.
Both teams were quiet offensively until the fourth inning when the Cougars scored three runs. McKenzie St. Clair scored first on an RBI double from Emilee Erickson, who was brought home by a double from Bell. Sugg earned another RBI after Bravo scored to cap off the fourth inning, making it 4-0.
The fifth inning saw two more runs cross the plate for BYU. Alexa Strid tripled down the left-field line to allow Thompson to score from second base. A bunt from St. Clair brought in Strid to push the Cougars’ lead to 6-0 after the top of the fifth.
The last two runs came in the sixth inning when Sugg tallied her third and fourth RBI by singling to left-center, hitting home Bravo and Lexi Tarrow to extend BYU’s lead to 8-0. The Cougars were able to hold the Spartans scoreless, bringing the mercy rule into effect, ending the game after six innings.
Tennessee (2-0), who made its seventh trip to the Women's College World Series in 2015, was aided by BYU's defensive struggles in the 15-3 decision. The Cougars had nine hits with four errors in the loss, compared to the Volunteers’ 15 hits with no errors.
Bull started in the circle, throwing two strikeouts, walking three and giving up five runs. Sugg led the offensive effort again with three RBI, all earned on a home run in the third inning. Bell had three hits in the loss.
After Tennessee jumped out to a 4-0 lead, BYU responded in the third inning when Sugg hit a bomb over the fence in center field for a three-run home run to make it 4-3 at the end of the frame.
The Volunteers scored 11 more runs, including seven on four hits in the seventh inning.
BYU continues in the Kajikawa Classic on Friday against Wisconsin at 11:30 a.m. MST. Live stats will be available on the BYU softball schedule page.