Thompson's perfect day leads Cougs to sweep Gaels in doubleheader
PROVO, Utah – Ashley Thompson's three home runs on 7 for 7 hitting sparked BYU's doubleheader sweep (7-0, 13-2) Friday night at Gail Miller Field.
"We had high-level pitching, quality defense and very timely hitting," BYU head coach Gordon Eakin said. " I think our team played selflessly today. They did what was necessary to help the team succeed and that was the key."
Junior first baseman Thompson tallied seven RBI on 7 for 7 hitting over the two games. She hit three home runs in the doubleheader to improve her season total to nine. Her five RBI in the second game is a career high. With a grand slam in the first game, Libby Sugg had four RBI with two hits on the day.
Pitcher McKenna Bull threw her second-straight shutout while pitching in ten innings between the two games. With the shutout, she is now tied for first place for shutouts in a single season at BYU with eight. Bull is also tied for fourth place on BYU's all-time softball list for strikeouts in a single-season, tying Paige Affleck with 222.
BYU improves to 26-17 and 3-2 in West Coast Conference play while Saint Mary's falls to 18-22-1 and 5-3 in the WCC. BYU out-hit Saint Mary's 11 to 8 in the first game and 15 to 6 in the second. The Cougars remain undefeated in the history of the series against the Gaels, improving the record to 16-0.
BYU shutout Saint Mary's 7-0 in the first game. Bull threw her eighth shutout with four strikeouts. Thompson and Sugg led the team with two and four RBI, respectively.
In the bottom of the first, Sugg hit into a fielder's choice to give BYU runners on the corners, but a hit from Alexa Strid flew out to end the inning.
The Gaels then hit a triple down the right field line to get into scoring position, but Thompson collected a pop-out fly to bring the Cougars out to bat in the bottom of the second.
With two outs in the third, Thompson homered for the seventh time of the year to get BYU on the board 1-0.
In the bottom of the fifth, Lauren Bell singled to give BYU runners on the corners. Thompson then loaded the bases after a pitcher error. That led Sugg to collect on a grand slam - her 15th homer of the year. Strid followed with a triple to the left field with just one out. After a pitching change, McKenzie St. Clair reached first on an error before Caitlyn Larsen singled to score Strid and put the Cougars ahead 6-0.
Gordy Bravo hit a stand-up double to start BYU out in the bottom of the sixth, and then Thompson singled to center field, increasing the lead by one with a run.
The Gaels had runners on second and third in the top of the seventh but couldn't capitalize with any runs as the Cougars came out on top 7-0.
The Cougars run-ruled the Gaels in the second game 13-2 behind five RBI from Thompson and three RBI from both St. Clair and Coco Tauali'i Bond. Bull and Arianna Paulson split the pitching duties, earning five strikeouts.
With the bases loaded at the bottom of the first, St. Clair hit a double and advanced with a throw to third base to collect three RBI and put the Cougars on the board.
BYU held the margin as Saint Mary's remained scoreless in the second inning with just one run.
Bravo got things rolling after tripling up the right baseline in the bottom of the second. Bell followed with a single as Bravo recorded a run and an RBI. Thompson then hit her second home run of the night to score two runs and increase the Cougars' lead 6-0.
With Lotz on third, Mamizuka hit a fielder’s choice to bring home the Gaels’ first run.
The Cougars answered with a third-inning rally of six runs on six hits. Bond recorded her fourth home run of the year to tally a run. Thompson hit a three-run homer, her second home run of the game and third of the night, to increase the Cougars’ lead 10-1. Bond singled down left baseline to tally two more RBI.
Linton singled to allow Musgrave to score a run for Saint Mary's in the fourth inning. Erickson singled with another run for BYU before the Gaels answered with a two-out double play.
Three Gaels struck-out in the top of the fifth to secure the Cougars' 13-2 mercy-rule victory.
The Cougars return to action in the final game of the series against Saint Mary's Saturday, April 23, at noon MDT. The game will be broadcast live on BYUtv. Links to live stats can be found 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.