BYU holds on to early lead, beats Utah 5-2 in Deseret First Duel
SALT LAKE CITY – Solid hitting and pitching gave BYU softball a 5-2 win over in-state rival Utah in the Deseret First Duel Wednesday night at Dumke Family Softball Stadium.
“We played a solid game,” BYU head coach Gordon Eakin said. “We got some key hits early. We left a lot of runners on base but were squaring balls up and they went right to the other team. If one or two of our balls weren’t right to them, we would’ve opened up this game early on.”
The Cougars (25-19, 5-1 West Coast Conference) outhit the Utes (20-19, 2-10 Pac-12) 10 hits to six and capitalized on two Ute errors.
Rylee Jensen and Bridget Fleener both went 3 for 4, each with a double and two singles. Fleener contributed three RBI as well. Alexa Strid went 2 for 4 while Libby Sugg and Olivia Sanchez added one hit apiece.
Kerisa Viramontes and Autumn Moffat shared pitching duties and recorded four strikeouts each from the circle.
“We had a freshman and a sophomore on the mound and they definitely came through,” Eakin said. “Kerisa did a nice job starting the game for us. Autumn did a great job coming in and shutting them down. I’m very proud of our pitching.”
The Cougar bats came alive early in the first with three hits as they took an early 2-0 lead. Jensen led off to open the game with a double to center field before Briielle Breland walked. Lexi Tarrow then laid down a sacrifice bunt to move runners up and Sugg walked. Jensen came home from third on a wild pitch to begin the scoring as Breland and Sugg also advanced. Fleener singled up the middle to bring Breland across to make it 2-0.
In the fourth frame, Jensen had a bunt single before Breland reached on a fielder’s choice as Jensen got out at second. A Utah fielding error then allowed Tarrow to get on base and moved Breland to second. Breland would advance to third on a wild pitch before Sugg singled to left field to move Tarrow to second and bring Breland home for a 3-0 advantage.
The scoring in the fourth continued for the Cougars when Fleener sent a two-run double to right field to bring Sugg and Tarrow home to go up 5-0.
Utah responded in the bottom of the fourth as BreOnna Castaneda doubled to center field to score Kelly Martinez from second and reduce the deficit to 5-1. Ute Rylely Ball later sent a solo shot over the left-field fence in the fifth to close the gap 5-2.
After allowing two singles to start the bottom of the sixth, Moffat shut down the threat on her own by striking out the side with three-consecutive strikeouts to close the inning.
Utah went three up, three down in the seventh to end the game.
The Cougars will next host Utah State Wednesday, Apr. 25 at 6 p.m. MDT at Gail Miller Field.
BYU softball was picked tied for first in conference as voted on by the West Coast Conference coaches, the league…