Dominant hitting lifts BYU over Southern Utah 18-4
CEDAR CITY, Utah – Early, powerful and consistent hitting gave BYU softball an 18-4 win over Southern Utah in a rescheduled game at Kathryn Berg Field Monday afternoon.
“Our offense was impressive today. From the first pitch, we were dialed in,” BYU head coach Gordon Eakin said. “Caitlyn Alldredge hit two monster home runs and Arianna (Paulson) did a great job in the circle. It was a total team effort today.”
Eight Cougars (29-20, 8-1 West Coast Conference) combined for a season-high 18 hits, including four home runs, as the team scored a season-high 18 runs to top the Thunderbirds (7-37, 4-14 Big Sky) in five innings, due to the NCAA eight-run rule.
Caitlyn Alldredge hit two home runs, including blasting a grand slam in back-to-back games, and accounted for a career-high six RBI. Briielle Breland also smashed a home run, going 2 for 3 at the plate with two runs and two RBI. Alexa Strid and Libby Sugg both went a perfect 3 for 3 at the plate, scoring one and two runs, respectively. Strid also added two RBI. Rylee Jensen, Bridget Fleener and Lexi Tarrow also added two hits as well. Ashley Godfrey contributed a two-run homer for the team’s fourth home run.
Autumn Moffat and Arianna Paulson shared pitching duties. Paulson entered the game in relief with no outs in the first and earned two strikeouts to close in the inning. She finished the game with a career-high 10 strikeouts and walked just two batters.
Both teams opened the game strong offensively. BYU scored six runs on six hits, including consecutive hits from the first four batters. Jensen led off with a double to left center before Breland doubled to the same spot and brought her in for a 1-0 lead.
Tarrow then singled to left field as Breland crossed the plate, before Sugg singled to right field and advanced Tarrow to second. After Fleener laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners up, Strid singled to center field and advanced on the throw, advancing Sugg to third and scoring Tarrow to go up 3-0.
Madison Merrell reached on a fielder’s choice as Strid was forced out at second base, allowing Sugg to come home. Alldredge then sent a two-run homer to center field to score Merrell just before she touched home herself to give BYU a 6-0 advantage.
Southern Utah came out swinging early as well, scoring three runs on five hits to trail 6-3 after the bottom of the first.
The Cougars, however, maintained their offensive momentum to score eight runs and increase their lead in the second frame. Tarrow singled to third base before Sugg singled through the left side and moved her up. Fleener hit a double to left center as Sugg advanced to second and Tarrow came across to go up 7-3.
After Strid singled to center field to move the runners up, Merrell walked with bases loaded to score Sugg. Alldredge followed by connecting on her second grand slam in three days to bring Merrell, Strid and Fleener in for a 12-3 lead. Alldredge also cleared every base with a grand slam on Saturday in BYU's win over Saint Mary's.
The scoring in the inning continued when Jensen singled up the middle before Breland sent a shot over the fence in center field to finish the inning ahead 14-3.
While Paulson quieted the Thunderbirds at the plate, the Cougars continued to produce during their at bats. Sugg led off in the third inning with a double to right field before Emilee Erickson came in as a pinch runner. Fleener singled to left field, moving Erickson to third. Strid then singled to right field to advance Fleener to second and score Erickson and make it 15-3 with no outs.
Marissa Chavez then came in as a pinch runner for Strid before Alldredge was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Olivia Sanchez came in as a pinch hitter and delivered with a sacrifice fly to right field, bringing Fleener home to go up 16-3.
The Thunderbirds were able to add another run in the third. Kendall Kapitzke singled down the left-field line and advanced to second as Kalei Watkins walked. The runners moved a base as Kaitlin Williams singled to second base to score Kapitzke and make it 16-4.
In the fifth inning, Merrell singled to left field before Ashley Godfrey hit a two-run homer to left field, the second dinger of her career.
Southern Utah loaded the bases in the fifth on three singles but Paulson struck out the side to end the game.
The Cougars return to Provo Tuesday to host a Cystic Fibrosis Awareness game against Utah Valley (19-24, 10-4 Western Athletic Conference) in the UCCU Crosstown Clash at 6 p.m. MDT. The game will be televised locally on KBYU-TV/Channel 11 and streamed live on YouTube.
BYU will celebrate Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month at the game with 6-year-old Team IMPACT teammate Emily Sorenson throwing the first pitch. The Cougars will wear purple ribbons and 100 purple plastic bracelets will be given out to fans.
BYU softball will hold walk-on tryouts at Gail Miller Field on Friday, Sept. 8 at 2 p.m. MDT.