MORAGA, Calif. – Junior Briielle Breland knocked in two runs and McKenna Bull threw 11 strikeouts in No. 20 BYU softball's 4-0 shutout of Saint Mary’s in the first game of the three-game series on Friday afternoon.
"I didn't think we played particularly well today," BYU head coach Gordon Eakin said. "But we played well enough to grind out a win. Tomorrow, we will come back with a little more energy and effort and hopefully continue to play well."
BYU (43-10, 13-0 West Coast Conference) improves its win streak to 22 games and remains undefeated in WCC play. The Cougars held the Gaels (16-30, 2-11 WCC) to four hits, never allowing a baserunner past second.
Bull pitched a complete-game victory, increasing her win total to 29 on the year. She notched double-digit strikeouts for the fourth time this year with 11, which ties her season-high last reached against Miami on March 3. Breland led the offense with two RBI on 2 of 2 hitting, also crossing home plate twice. Freshman Rylee Jensen went 2 for 3 with one RBI and one run in the win.
The pitchers got to work early as both teams went three up, three down in the first two innings. Saint Mary’s Katie Moss tossed three strikeouts in the opening frame, while Bull threw two in the bottom of the first.
Breland finally put a run on the board in the top of the third. On the first pitch she saw, she drilled a homer over center field for the 1-0 lead. The Gaels also notched a hit in the third inning, but they were unable to bring a runner home.
After a scoreless fourth, the Cougars scored another in the top of the fifth. With Breland on first after being walked, Jensen doubled over the right fielder’s head. That scored Breland and pushed the lead to 2-0.
BYU loaded up the bases in the top of the sixth before Breland got up to bat with two outs. She hit a grounder to the shortstop and beat out the throw to score Ashley Thompson. The Cougar defense forced the Gaels to go down in order in the bottom frame, holding the 3-0 lead after six innings.
In the top of the seventh, Libby Sugg faced another bases-loaded situation. She hit a sacrifice fly to center field to give Jensen time to tag up and run home for the fourth run.
The series in Moraga concludes on Saturday with a doubleheader starting at noon PDT. Live stats will be available on the BYU softball schedule page.