FRESNO, Calif. – After a 7-1 win against Sacramento State, No. 25 BYU softball dropped its second game to Fresno State, 6-1, in the Fresno State Invitational on Friday.
Freshman pitcher Paulson led BYU past Sacramento State (6-8-1, 0-0 Big Sky), 7-1, for her first career win. Paulson threw five strikeouts and gave up just one run in her winning effort. At the plate, catcher Libby Sugg notched three RBI while shortstop Alexa Strid had a season-high three hits with one run scored. Freshman Rylee Jensen went 2 for 4 with two RBI and two runs.
To start the game, the Hornets got a runner on third, but Strid made a diving play to get the force out at second to end the frame. In the bottom of the first, Jensen led off with a solo homer over right field, the first of her career. Her home run put the Cougars up 1-0 early in the game.
In the bottom of the second, BYU surged further ahead of Sacramento State. Brooke Vander Heide and Jensen each had an RBI single, pushing the lead to 3-0. With the bases loaded, Sugg hit a double against the fence in right center, scoring all three runners. The Cougars led 6-0 after two innings.
For the next three innings, both teams were scoreless. Paulson and the BYU defense held Sacramento State to just two hits during that span, not allowing more than four hitters to get a chance at the plate in each inning.
The Hornets avoided the shutout by bringing in a run in the top of the sixth off of a single to center, making it 6-1. The Cougars responded in the bottom of the frame with a double from Ashley Thompson to bring in Lauren Bell. That run pushed the lead back up to 7-1, which would hold as the final score.
BYU dropped the second game of the day, a 6-1 loss to Fresno State (14-8, 0-0 Mountain West). The Cougars had just four hits in the loss, along with three fielding errors. The lone RBI in the game came from Lexi Tarrow in the sixth inning. McKenna Bull and Olivia Sanchez split the pitching duties.
After the Cougars started the game going three up, three down, the Bulldogs struck first. They scored a run in the bottom of the first to take the early 1-0 lead.
Fresno State pushed the lead to 2-0 after a solo shot over left field in the bottom of the second. BYU trailed 2-0 after two.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Bulldogs added a two-run homer for a 4-0 lead over the Cougars through four innings. BYU had just two hits through four innings, both coming in the second frame.
The Cougars got on board thanks to a Tarrow single in the top of the sixth that scored Vander Heide and loaded the bases with the score at 6-1. However, BYU was unable to capitalize on the opportunity, leaving all three runners stranded. The score would stand, giving the Bulldogs the win.
On Saturday, BYU will play another doubleheader against Sacramento State and Fresno State. The games will be at 10 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. PST, respectively, with live stats available on the BYU softball schedule page.