Bull breaks all-time saves record in doubleheader split
CATHEDRAL CITY, California – After falling 2-1 to New Mexico State in extra innings, McKenna Bull's record-breaking ninth-career save led BYU softball to a 3-0 win over Bethune-Cookman in the doubleheader at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic II on Thursday.
"Our pitching and defense played well," BYU head coach Gordon Eakin said. "We just need more timely hits. If we can get our batting up to speed, we will be playing great softball."
McKenna Bull earned the ninth save of her career to put her in first place all-time at BYU, breaking a tie with Hannah Howell. She led the pitching effort with 15 strikeouts and just seven walks on the day.
BYU (8-4) split the games in its doubleheader with 12 hits on the day and just one error, which came in the first game against the Aggies. Freshman Libby Sugg totaled a team-best four hits on the day to go along with her two RBI in the game against the Wildcats.
Between BYU and New Mexico State (10-2), there were just seven total hits in a game that went to extra innings after a scoreless tie. Bull pitched a tough game from the circle, throwing 12 strikeouts while allowing four hits and walking seven. In the seven innings, BYU got two lone hits from Madison Merrell and Sugg. Lauren Bell added another in the eighth inning to record the Cougars' lone RBI in the contest.
Both teams went three up, three down in the first inning. Bull struck out all three batters she faced in that inning. New Mexico State had two close calls with one runner called out at home in the second inning and with a runner in scoring position in the third, but tough pitching from Bull kept them at bay.
In the bottom of the fifth, Coco Tauali’i Bond recorded all three outs to keep the game at a 0-0 tie. Neither team was able to get on the board in seven, so the game went into extra innings.
In the top of the eighth, a hard-hit single to first from Bell brought in Bond to score the first run of the game. However, New Mexico State was able to score two runs in the bottom of the eight for the walk-off win, 2-1.
Olivia Sanchez pitched the first five innings for BYU, allowing just one walk and no runs. Bull came in and threw three strikeouts to hold off Bethune-Cookman (3-10).
The game was scoreless between the Cougars and the Wildcats until the top of the fourth when Caitlyn Larsen hit a sacrifice fly to right field, bringing in Merrell for the first run of the game.
The Cougars’ second run came in the fifth inning. Sugg drilled a double to right center to put Lexi Tarrow in good position to get home all the way from first base for the 2-0 advantage over Bethune-Cookman.
In the seventh, Sugg tripled to the right-field fence, allowing Bell to score and give the Cougars’ a 3-0 lead, which would be the final score in the win.
BYU continues play at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic II against No. 11 UCLA on Friday at 3 p.m. PST. Live stats will be available on the BYU schedule page.
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