Home run ball gives BYU two wins at Judi Garman Classic
FULLERTON, Calif. – With seven homers on the day, the BYU softball team came away with two wins, winning 9-1 against Cal Poly followed by a late-inning 7-6 victory over Illinois on the first day of the Judi Garman Classic on Thursday.
“Today was a great day for our team,” BYU head coach Gordon Eakin said. “Not only did we beat two good teams, but we had to fight back in the second game after losing the lead. We showed heart and we played well in all three facets of the game.”
- Huntyr Ava: 4-6, 3R, 5RBI, 3HR
- Rylee Jensen-McFarland: 5-5, 4R, 4RBI, 2B, 3B, HR
- Autumn Moffat tallied her fourth win of the season, pitching 4.0 innings of no-hit ball and surrendering just one unearned run. She gave up no walks and struck out four batters. Carley Brown finished out the game for BYU facing four batters in one inning.
- BYU smashed three homers, including HannahJo Peterson and Brooke Hill recording their first career dingers and Huntyr Ava with her fourth.
- Autumn Moffat: W(4-3), 4.0 IP, 0H, 0ER, 0BB
- Huntyr Ava: 2-3, 1R, 2RBI, 1HR
- HannahJo Peterson: 1-3, 1R, 3RBI, 1HR
- Rylee Jensen-McFarland: 1-1, 2R, 2RBI, 2B, 2BB
After Cal Poly went three-up, three-down in the top of the first inning, Ava blasted a two-run homer to give the Cougars a 2-0 lead. BYU pitcher Autumn Moffat kept the Mustangs scoreless in the next two innings while the Cougars posted three runs each inning, including Peterson’s first career homer and Jensen-McFarland hit a two-run double to make the score 8-0.
In the top of the fourth, Cal Poly scored one run off a Cougar error but BYU quickly answered back in the bottom of the inning as Hill hit her first career bomb to give the Cougars a 9-1 edge.
Brown and the BYU defense held the Mustangs scoreless in the top of the fifth, ending the game due to the NCAA eight run-rule, 9-1.
- Huntyr Ava gave BYU an edge smashing two homers including a two-run shot. Rylee Jensen-McFarland also added a homer to the mix to bring BYU’s total to seven on the day.
- Freshman Carley Brown pitched her way to her second win of the season, tossing three innings and gave up three hits with only one run and no walks.
- Rylee Jensen-McFarland: 4-4, 2R, 2RBI, 3B, HR
- Huntyr Ava: 2-3, 2R, 3RBI, 2HR
- Carley Brown: W (2-1), 3.0 IP, 3H, 1R
As the game went into the top of the seventh, BYU trailed Illinois 6-5. With the first at bat of the inning, Jensen-McFarland knocked a triple to left field to get the Cougars in scoring position. Peterson then grounded out with Jensen-McFarland having to hold at third with Ava up next. The freshman then blasted her third homer of the day scoring Jensen-McFarland to give BYU a 7-6 edge.
In the bottom of the seventh frame, the Fighting Illini got on base in their first at bat. They followed it up with a sac bunt to move the runner to second and their third batter flew out. With a runner at third, Bridget Fleener made a diving catch in right field to end the game and give BYU a 7-6 win.
Setting up the thrilling victory, the game started out with two scoreless innings for both teams, but in the top of the third the Cougars came out swinging. Erin Miklus singled to the shortstop and Jensen-McFarland followed it up with a homer to make the score 2-0. Ava followed it up with her second of three dingers on the day to make the score 3-0.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Illinois answered back, putting up six runs to take a 6-3 lead. BYU kept the game close as Martha Epenesa hit one of BYU's seven round-trippers with Arissa Paulson on to close the Fighting Illini lead to 6-5, setting up the seventh-inning fireworks.
BYU continues at the Judi Garman Classic on Friday, Feb. 28 with two games. The Cougars face off against No. 25 Texas Tech at 9:30 a.m. followed by a contest against Boise State at noon. Both games will be played at PGF Field at Cal State Fullerton with a live broadcast available on FloSoftball.