Cougars cruise past Santa Clara in WCC opening doubleheader
PROVO, Utah – A combined 22 hits gave BYU softball an 8-1 win in game one and a 13-5 victory in game two in a doubleheader against Santa Clara Friday at Gail Miller Field to begin West Coast Conference play.
“You always take wins. No matter how you get them, a win is a win," BYU head coach Gordon Eakin said. "The fact that we battled through elements, game-time changes and whether or not we were going to play today, and we got two wins in and came out on the good side of both games is the positive.”
BYU (20-18, 2-0 WCC) took advantage of Santa Clara (5-26, 0-2 WCC), walking 11 batters and beat the Broncos 8-1 on seven hits to win the first matchup of the day.
The Cougars kept their momentum going into the second game, scoring 13 runs on 15 hits in six innings, due to the NCAA's eight-run rule.
Madison Merrell went a perfect 3 for 3 at the plate for the Cougars in game one to go along with one run and two RBI. Libby Sugg had two RBI as well while Rylee Jensen and Olivia Sanchez added two runs each. Pinch runners Erin Miklus and Brooke Vander Heide both came in for designated player Bridget Fleener in different innings and scored runs on her two hits.
Kerisa Viramontes pitched all seven innings, striking out 10 batters and allowing just one run in the win.
Santa Clara opened up the game with Morgan Modesto doubling to left center. Modesto then scored the first run of the game when Eleni Spirakis singled up the middle bringing her home from second and take a 1-0 lead.
The Broncos walked both Jensen and Briielle Breland to start the bottom of the first inning. The runners advanced on a wild pitch, setting up a sacrifice fly from Sugg to bring Jensen home and even the score 1-1.
In the fourth frame, Fleener earned the Cougars’ first hit of the game on a single to right field and Erin Miklus came in as a pinch runner. Miklus advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt from Caitlyn Alldredge and Olivia Sanchez reached first on an error by Santa Clara.
Merrell then hit a single to centerfield and Miklus came across to go up 2-1. Jensen then brought Sanchez in with a single to right field for a 4-1 lead. Breland was hit by a pitch and Tarrow walked to load the bases. The Broncos then walked Sugg, moving all runners forward and scoring Jensen to make it 5-1 lead.
The Cougars carried their hot hitting into the fifth inning with Fleener singling to center to start things off. Vander Heide came in as a pinch runner for Fleener before advancing to second as Sanchez walked.
Merrell then doubled to left field, advancing Sanchez to third and bringing Vander Heide in to make it 6-1. Jensen earned an RBI on a ground out scoring Sanchez for a 7-1 advantage.
After being walked, Breland advanced to second on a wild pitch while Merrell advanced home to score. Lexi Tarrow hit a double down the left-field line, scoring Breland for the final run of the game.
Sanchez went 3 for 3 in the second game, hitting her first-career home run and adding two RBI. Lexi Tarrow went 3 for 4 with two runs and one RBI while Rylee Jensen went 2 for 3 with three runs. Sugg added four RBI and three runs. Merrell and Breland scored as well.
BYU went up early in the first, scoring five runs on three hits. Jensen reached on an error by the Santa Clara first baseman and Breland walked before Tarrow bunted to move runners up. Sugg reached on an error by the shortstop to score Jensen and go up 1-0.
Alexa Strid singled through the left side to bring Breland in before Fleener walked with bases loaded to score Tarrow and go up 3-0.
Sugg later scored after Merrell flied out to centerfield. A Sanchez single then increased the lead to 5-0 in the bottom of the first.
To start off the second frame, the Broncos’ Adele Elkind singled through to the right side to score a run, but Tarrow followed suit in the bottom of the inning to score Jensen and keep the Cougars ahead 6-1.
Santa Clara stayed in the game in the top of the fourth, scoring off of a BYU error to make it 6-2.
Sugg then singled to left center, scoring Jensen again. The Cougars scored another run after a Fleener single to finish out the inning, ahead 8-2.
in the bottom of the fifth, Sanchez hit the first home run of her career to right center. However, Santa Clara answered back in the top of the sixth, scoring three runs to make it 9-5.
On the first pitch in the bottom of the sixth, Tarrow recorded a base hit to first. Sugg followed by crushing a two-run homer to left center, bringing Tarrow in as well for a 11-5 lead.
Fleener then doubled to left center and before Vander Heide came in as a pinch runner. Merrell stepped up to the plate with no outs and ended the game with a home run to left center.
The Cougars remain at home Saturday, Apr. 7, to face Santa Clara at 11 a.m. MDT. The game will be streamed live on TheW.tv and live stats will be available 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.