CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. – BYU softball split its doubleheader on Saturday night with a 7-6 win over Cal State Fullerton and a 16-6 loss to No. 12 Missouri, finishing the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic with a 2-3 record.
BYU (9-6) had 11 hits and six errors on the day. McKenna Bull led the pitching effort with 12 strikeouts against the Titans. In their win, the Cougars had a .353 batting average while hitting .250 in the loss to the Tigers. Freshman Libby Sugg hit two home runs today, bringing her season total to eight.
Bull threw 12 strikeouts and just three walks in the 7-6 win over Cal State Fullerton (9-5). This was her eighth game throwing double-digit strikeouts in her career, third time this season. The last time came in the loss to New Mexico State on Thursday. Caitlyn Larsen led the way on offense with three RBI and three hits. Madison Merrell chipped in two RBI as well.
The Cougars got off to a strong start. In the bottom of the first, Merrell got out at first to bring in Gordy Bravo, taking the early 1-0 lead over the Titans.
After Fullerton scored one run in the top of the third, Sugg responded with her seventh home run of the season. Larsen’s single down the left field line brought in two more runs for the Cougars, pushing the lead to 4-1 in the third inning.
After two scoreless innings, BYU got back into action in the sixth. When the Titans’ third pitcher of the game faced back-to-back batters with the bases loaded, she walked both Merrell and McKenzie St. Clair, bringing in two runs for the Cougars. Fullerton brought in another pitcher, but she walked Larsen for the third run of the inning, extending BYU’s lead to 7-2.
The Titans rallied in the top of the seventh, scoring four runs. However, tough pitching from Bull got the Cougars out of a jam, securing the 7-2 win.
Olivia Sanchez and Arianna Paulson shared pitching duties in the second game, throwing a combined eight strikeouts in the loss to Missouri (9-2). On offense, Sugg's home run in the seventh inning gave her a team-high two RBI.
The Tigers struck first to start the game, scoring two runs in the top of the first. However, the Cougars responded in the bottom of the first with three runs, two scored on a throwing error and the third scored when Larsen caught the attention of the defense after being walked to give Sugg a chance to run home. BYU led 3-2 heading into the second.
A double from Missouri in the top of the second tied up the game 3-3. Lauren Bell answered back in the bottom of the second with a single to bring in Bond, taking back the 4-3 lead.
The two teams trading leads again after an error and a squeeze bunt scored a pair of runs for the Tigers in the third. The Tigers then added three more runs to their total in the fourth inning to put the Cougars in an 8-4 deficit.
In the top of the fifth, Merrell robbed Mizzou of a home run, flipping over the fence to make the catch and keeping the Tigers scoreless in the inning. However, for the third-consecutive inning, the Cougars remained scoreless.
Mizzou ran away with it in the seventh inning, extending its lead to 16-4. Sugg's home run in the bottom of the seventh gave BYU two more runs, but the rally fell short, resulting in a 16-6 loss.
BYU returns to action next weekend at the Wildcat Invitational in Tucson, Arizona. The Cougars will face five teams from March 3-5.