2019 BYU softball season review
PROVO, Utah – The BYU softball team finished out the 2019 season like it has for the past 20 years. The Cougars compiled a 30-26 overall record and a 12-3 conference record, winning it’s sixth-straight West Coast Conference Championship title and a bid to the NCAA Regionals for the 15th straight year.
WCC Conference Title
The conference championship title came down to the final week of the regular season as BYU had to win two of its final three games to clinch the title. The Cougars came out early winning their first two game against Santa Clara in a double header 9-2 and then 5-3, respectively, to lock down the WCC Championship title and a bid to the NCAA Regionals. It was BYU softball's 10th-straight conference championship title over four different conferences and its 16th bid to a NCAA Regional. BYU softball traveled to the Stillwater Regional taking on No. 14 Oklahoma State, Arkansas and Tulsa coming away with a 1-2 record.
Throughout the season, many players received national recognition and awards. Junior Rylee Jensen was named the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Player of the Week after her standout performance in a weekend series against Pacific where she was nearly perfect at the plate, batting .900 (9-for-10). The junior left fielder doubled, tripled, homered, drove in four runs and scored five times in a three-game sweep of Pacific. Jensen as well as pitcher Arissa Paulson were named to the NFCA All-Pacific Region First Team following the season while outfielder Lexi Tarrow was named to the third team.
The Cougars made their mark in the WCC Awards, taking three of the conference’s top season awards and 12 Pitcher or Player of the Week awards. Following the 2019 season, Lexi Tarrow was named WCC Player of the Year, Arissa Paulson took WCC Pitcher of the Year and Erin Miklus was named WCC Defensive Player of the Year.
BYU swept the WCC weekly awards three times throughout the season while tallying six Player and Pitcher of the Week Awards apiece. Jensen took Player of the Week five times and Libby Sugg was honored once. Arissa Paulson tallied three Pitcher of the Week awards including back-to-back weeks with Moffat earning the award twice and Kerisa Viramontes claiming the honor once.
Left Fielder Rylee Jensen
Jensen made a large impact for the BYU softball team for the 2019 season. The left fielder was BYU’s leadoff hitter for nearly every game during the season, leading the team in nearly every category including starts (54), batting average (.381), slugging percentage (.676.), on base percentage (.450), runs (46), hits (67), RBI (33), doubles (14), home runs (12), total bases (119) and walks (21).
Rylee Jensen’s 2019 Season Overview:
- All-WCC First Team
- NFCA All-Pacific Region First Team
- WCC All-Academic
- Five-time WCC Player of the Week
- NFCA National Player of the Week
- Led the team in starts, batting average, slugging percentage, on base percentage, runs, hits, RBI, doubles, home runs, total bases and walks
- Game Records: No. 2 in runs (4, UTEP), No. 2 in hits (4, Pacific and Long Beach State)
- Junior Class Records: No. 3 in doubles (14), No. 4 in hits (67) and slugging percentage (.676) and No. 5 in runs (46)
- Hit two home runs against Arkansas, San Diego and Fordham
- Career game highs: batting average (1.000, twice), slugging percentage (2.670, twice) at bats (5, twice), runs (4, twice), hits (4, twice), RBI (5) and walks (3)
Pitcher Arissa Paulson
After her 2018 season was cut short, starting pitcher Arissa Paulson proved to be a valuable asset for the 2019 team. As a redshirt sophomore, she was named WCC Pitcher of the Year and All-WCC First Team as well as NFCA All-Pacific Region First Team. She tallied three WCC Pitcher of the Week awards while closed out the 2019 season leading the team in wins (15), innings pitched (163.1) and strikeouts (120) while holding opposing teams batters to only a .241 average. She finished the season with 15 wins, 15 complete games, four shutouts and 120 strikeouts. A two-way player, Paulson also played a major role in batting for the Cougars, finishing the season with a .304 batting average with 16 runs, three homers and 20 RBI while drawing 15 walks. As a pitcher, she tallied a career high of 11 strikeouts against LMU and recorded a 0.00 ERA twice during the season.
Arissa Paulson's 2019 Overview:
- WCC Pitcher of the Year
- All-WCC First Team
- NFCA All-Pacific First Team
- Three-time WCC Pitcher of the Week
- Led the team in strikeouts, innings pitched, wins and opponent batting average
- Sophomore Class Records: No. 3 in shutouts (4), No. 5 in strikeouts (120) and wins (15)
- Career game highs as a pitcher: strikeouts (11), ERA (0.00, twice), hits (1) and walks (0, twice)
Catcher Libby Sugg
Libby Sugg, who following her BYU campaign was drafted ninth overall in the Softball America Association draft, has been a key contributor all of her four seasons at BYU. The senior catcher earned one WCC Player of the Week awards and was named All-WCC second team. Sugg finished her career ranking No. 2 in the BYU record books in doubles (47) and RBI (211), No. 3 in slugging percentage (.666) and No. 4 in homers (49), total bases (420) and walks (106). Throughout the 2019 season, the Tennessee native was present in multiple categories among active career leaders finishing the 2019 season at No. 4 in RBI, No. 10 in home runs, No. 13 in total bases, No. 20 in doubles, No. 33 in walks and No. 35 in games played.
Right fielder Lexi Tarrow
Lexi Tarrow was named WCC Player of the Year after finishing conference play with the highest batting average in WCC play at .488 with 12 runs, 21 hits, three doubles, eight RBI and a .721 slugging percentage. She was also named All-WCC First Team and NFCA All-Pacific Region Third Team.
Second baseman Erin Miklus
Erin Miklus earned WCC defensive player of the year with a perfect fielding percentage on 33 chances including 15 putouts, 18 assists while turning one double play in WCC play.
Other Season Achievements:
- Nine players were named to All-WCC Team including first team honorees Marissa Chavez, Autumn Moffat, Jensen, Paulson and Tarrow, second team honoree Libby Sugg and honorable mention honoree Taylei Williams
- Autumn Moffatt won two Pitcher of the Year Awards and finished the lead with the teams lowest ERA of 2.54
- Taylei Williams was named to the WCC Commissioners Honor Roll
- Kerisa Viramontes earned WCC Pitcher of the Week during the fourth week of the season
- Brooke Vander Heide and Rylee Jensen were named to the WCC All-Academic Team
- The team recorded five home runs in the game against UTEP, BYU’s No. 2 all-time record as well as No. 4 in walks with 11 against UTEP