Bull's 14 strikeouts lead BYU to 5-4 win over Wisconsin in extra innings
TEMPE, Ariz. – McKenna Bull tied a career high with 14 strikeouts to push BYU softball to a 5-4 win over Wisconsin in extra innings at the Kajikawa Classic on Friday.
In the top of the ninth, two strikeouts from Bull and a groundout to third baseman Coco Tauali’i Bond quickly finished the at bat for Wisconsin. After a single from Lauren Bell in the bottom of the inning advanced Allie Hancock to third base, Alexa Strid put down a squeeze bunt to bring Hancock across the plate for the game-winning run.
“Our team showed a lot of character fighting through nine innings, fighting their way back into the game,” BYU head coach Gordon Eakin said. “McKenna threw very well to keep us in the game and give us a chance to come back and grind out the win. It was one of those games where you just have to stay with it. We executed very well in the extra innings, which is ultimately what gave us the win.”
BYU (2-1) and Wisconsin (1-1) finished the game equal in hits with nine each. The Badgers committed three errors in their loss, two of which helped the Cougars score in the fifth inning.
For the seventh time in her career, Bull (2-1) recorded double-digit strikeouts, tying her career high of 14. Bull also had no walks in the win, which is the first time BYU has not given up any walks in a game since Bull had zero bases on balls against Oregon State in 2015.
Sophomore Madison Merrell led the team on offense with three hits on four at bats, including one RBI, a double and a run. The three hits and one RBI tie career highs for Merrell. Emilee Erickson and Strid each had an RBI as well. Erickson contributed two hits in the win.
After two scoreless innings, Wisconsin struck first in the third inning, scoring two runs. The Badgers followed that up in the fourth inning with another run while still keeping the Cougars from crossing the plate.
In the bottom of the fifth, BYU got on the board with two runs. A Wisconsin error caused both Lexi Tarrow and Merrell to advance bases in one play and then eventually to score when Libby Sugg's hit to leftield was misplayed by the Badgers.
Merrell came in clutch for the Cougars again in the sixth inning. A big double brought in Bond to tie the game 3-3. Neither team was able to break the tie by the end of the seventh, pushing the game into extra innings.
In the eighth inning, both Wisconsin and BYU scored one run. The Cougars scored when Erickson’s single brought Bond home to tie it up 4-4 and extend the game to the ninth inning.
BYU finishes off the Kajikawa Classic on Saturday with a doubleheader against Creighton and No. 24 Notre Dame at 9 a.m. MST and 11:30 a.m. MST, respectively. Live stats are available for both games on the BYU softball schedule page.
BYU softball will hold walk-on tryouts at Gail Miller Field on Friday, Sept. 8 at 2 p.m. MDT.