LOS ANGELES – Strong pitching led No. 22/23 BYU softball to a doubleheader win at Loyola Marymount on Saturday, 5-1 and 2-0, earning their first series sweep of West Coast Conference play.
“Our pitching and defense gave us two quality wins today and the series sweep," BYU head coach Gordon Eakin said. "It was a great way to start conference play."
BYU (27-10, 3-0 WCC) scored seven runs on nine hits today. On the day, LMU (14-25, 0-3 WCC) out-hit BYU 10-9.
Arissa Paulson and McKenna Bull both pitched complete-game wins for the Cougars. They combined for 13 strikeouts and just one run. Rylee Jensen led the offense with 3 for 5 hitting, totaling one RBI and one run.
Despite equaling LMU in hits with three, BYU took the first game 5-1. Paulson pitched the complete game for the Cougars, throwing a career-high eight strikeouts while allowing just one run on three hits. Jensen, Ashley Thompson and Brooke Vander Heide notched the three BYU hits in the win.
The Lions took an early 1-0 lead after the first inning. They scored on a single up the middle with a runner on third.
The Cougars got on the board in the top of the second, scoring three runs. The first was scored on an infield single by Vander Heide, giving Thompson time to hurry home from third. With the bases loaded, both Lauren Bell and Lexi Tarrow were walked, bringing in two runs. After two innings, BYU was up 3-1.
In the top of the third, the Cougars brought in another run. Thompson led off with a double to right field. A ground out from Caitlyn Larsen Alldredge advanced Thompson home, pushing the lead to 4-1.
After two scoreless innings in the fourth and fifth, BYU scored another run in the top of the sixth. With Briielle Breland on third, Jensen hit a sacrifice fly to right field to bring in the run, making it 5-1.
The score would hold through the remaining frames, giving the Cougars the 5-1 win.
Bull pitched BYU to another shutout win, taking the game 2-0 to sweep the series. She threw five strikeouts with just one walk. Alexa Strid went 2 for 3 with one RBI on the day, while Jensen went 2 for 4 with one run.
In the top of the first, BYU got on board. With the bases loaded, Alldredge hit a fly ball to centerfield, giving the runners time to tag up and reach the next base, including Jensen running home from third. The Cougars led 1-0 after the first.
Following scoreless second and third innings, BYU brought in another run in the top of the fourth. Leading off, Thompson was walked. Facing a full count and two outs, Strid nailed a single to centerfield, scoring Thompson from second base to push the lead to 2-0.
The Lions threatened to score in the bottom of the sixth and seventh, getting runners on first and second in both frames. However, they were left stranded after Bull struck out one and forced another to ground out.
The Cougars’ road trip continues on Tuesday as they travel to Cedar City, Utah, to face in-state opponent Southern Utah.