BYU Softball 2021 Season Review
PROVO, Utah – BYU softball finished the 2020-21 season with a 38-17 record, going 11-1 in West Coast Conference play for a 12th-straight conference title and seventh-straight in the WCC. The Cougars earned a trip to the NCAA Tournament for the 16th-straight season, going 2-2 in the Tempe Regional.
"This year had many challenges and obstacles," BYU head coach Gordon Eakin said. " As coaches, we couldn't be more proud of the way our team stayed resilient and competed at such a high level. This team set the bar a little higher. Our future is bright."
After a 1-3 start to the season at the Kajikawa Classic, the Cougars went 4-1 at the St. George Classic to improve to 5-4 on the year. Another 1-3 performance at the Wildcat Invitational, along with a 2-2 showing at the DeMarini Invitational then had BYU at 8-9.
The Cougars went 3-2 on a Texas road trip and played 22 games away from Provo before their first home game on Mar. 24, a 4-5 loss to Stanford. A doubleheader split with Boise State began a 16-game win streak spanning both non-conference and the beginning of WCC play.
A game two victory over the Broncos led to a mercy rule win against Southern Utah, a series sweep of No. 25 Baylor, win against Utah State, series sweep at Saint Mary’s, mercy-rule victory over Idaho State and another mercy-rule win against Southern Utah, sandwiched by a win over UVU and 7-6 walk-off victory against in-state rival Utah, followed by a series sweep of San Diego.
BYU had its win streak snapped at UVU, but took two of three at Loyola Marymount to get back on track, winning eight straight to close out the regular season and win its seventh-straight WCC title.
At the Tempe Regional in the NCAA Tournament, the Cougars suffered an opening game loss to Virginia Tech, but battled elimination on day two, knocking out Southern Illinois, 7-2, and then host-team No. 15 Arizona State with some late-game heroics, 9-8. BYU ran out of steam in the Regional Final, however, falling again to the Hokies, this time via the mercy rule, 11-3, to close out the season.
All-West Coast Conference Honors
Violet Zavodnik, Autumn Moffat-Korth and Eakin won four of the five top WCC awards this season. For the first time in WCC history, Zavodnik was named both the WCC Freshman and Player of the Year. Moffat-Korth earned WCC Pitcher of the Year and Coach Eakin earned WCC Coach of the Year.
The Cougars also had nine players receive All-WCC honors, including five on the First Team, the most of any team. Along with Vavodnik and Moffat-Korth, the other first-team honorees included Martha Epenesa, Rylee Jensen and HannahJo Peterson.
Huntyr Ava and Marissa Chavez were both named to the All-WCC Second Team, with Kaylee Erickson and Arissa Paulson on the All-WCC Honorable Mention list.
NFCA All-Region Team
BYU also had three players represented on the NFCA All-Pacific Region team. Jensen was named to the All-Region First Team, while Moffat-Korth and Zavodnik were named to the All-Region Second Team.
Jensen was second on the team with a .392 batting average. She tallied 71 hits, 43 RBI and 61 runs, with a .801 slugging percentage and .466 on-base percentage. Jensen led the team with 20 home runs and also boasted a perfect fielding percentage this season.
Moffat-Korth led the team with 22 wins on the year. She finished the season with a 2.20 ERA, throwing 21 complete games and racking up 176 strikeouts. At the plate, Moffat-Korth also had a .208 average with 11 hits, nine RBI and two runs.
Zavodnik had a team-leading .416 batting average, .818 slugging percentage and .516 on-base percentage. She recorded 64 hits, 48 RBI and 44 runs. Zavodnik also hit 14 homers, walked 21 times and was 16-18 on stolen bases this season.
The Cougars bid farewell to catcher Morgan Bevell, third baseman Emilee Erickson, second baseman Erin Miklus, left fielder Rylee Jensen and pitcher/first baseman Arissa Paulson this season.
Bevell had three hits, one RBI and one run this season. In 29 at-bats, Erickson hit four home runs, and also had a perfect fielding percentage in the hot corner. Miklus, the 2019 WCC Defensive Player of the Year, recorded 14 hits and 11 runs this season.
With a perfect fielding percentage in left field this year, Jensen also set school records in career runs, career doubles, games played and games started. Paulson was second on the team with a 3.77 ERA this season. She also had a .250 batting average, tallying 28 hits, 23 RBI and 10 runs.
Notable Returns for 2021-22
BYU will return eight players who played in at least half of the games this season: Ava, Chavez, Epenesa, Peterson, Alyssa Podhurcak, Peterson, Natalie Sicairos, Taylei Williams and Zavodnik.
Of the returning players with at least 87 at-bats, Zavodnik, Chavez, Epenesa, Ava, Peterson and Podhurcak had the top-six batting averages this season.
After another conference title and a trip to the NCAA Regionals, the Cougars look to build upon their 2021 success and go even further in 2022.