Bull powers BYU softball to day three split in Desert Classic
LAS VEGAS – Pitcher McKenna Bull’s one-hit shutout paced BYU softball to a split on day three of the Wilson/DeMarini Desert Classic Saturday at UNLV.
“It was a good tournament for us and a good weekend for us,” BYU head coach Gordon Eakin said. “It’s not easy to go 4-1 so I’m proud of them for their effort.”
The sophomore Bull (6-1) picked up her fourth victory of the tournament, giving up only one hit and striking out three in a 9-0 run-rule win over UTEP (2-6) in the early game. The Cougars (6-4) fell to No. 25 Cal State Fullerton (6-2) 11-0 in five innings in the second game.
Sophomore Lauren Bell led BYU with four RBI on the day while hitting 2-for-4 with a double. Freshman Alexa Strid and junior Gordy Bravo each went 2-for-4 with two RBI, which included a double by Bravo, who extended her hitting streak to eight games.
Sophomore Mercedes O’Connor also chipped in with an RBI on a base hit, going 1-for-3 on the day, while junior Coco Tauali’i collected a team high in hits with a 3-for-4 day at the plate.
BYU took an early lead, busting out five runs in the second inning. Strid singled through the left side, scoring Broderick. Two batters later Bravo doubled to right field, hitting the ball over the head of the outfielder for two RBI. Bell and O’Connor each then followed with a base-hit RBI to lead 5-0.
In the third inning Strid hit a single to center field, scoring St. Clair. Bell later cashed in again, driving in three RBI on a bases-clearing double to left field for the 9-0 score.
BYU played textbook softball while not recording an error and holding on for the run-rule win for its fourth victory of the weekend.
“McKenna pitched well and we played well,” Eakin said of the first game. “We had timely hits and played good defense.”
The second game of the day began with the Cougars getting two aboard, but grounding out to leave two on base in the first.
The Titans produced eight runs in the bottom of the first, aided in part by a two-out grand slam by Missy Taukeiaho. Two innings later Cal State Fullerton added two more to the board with Taukeiaho’s second home run and an RBI-single to center by Kylie Padilla. The Titans upped the score to 11-0 in the fourth.
“This game was all about pitching,” Eakin said. “If you give up eight runs in the first, it’s pretty hard to survive that. We need the other pitchers on our staff to step up so we don’t have to just rely on McKenna. We played four solid games and just didn’t have the pitching in the second.”
The Cougars head down to Southern California for the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic Thursday through Saturday. The Cougars will face UC Santa Barbara, Maryland, Texas A&M, Indiana and Oregon State.
BYU softball will hold walk-on tryouts at Gail Miller Field on Friday, Sept. 8 at 2 p.m. MDT.