Cougars down Terrapins, advance to NISC semifinal
FORT COLLINS, Co. — BYU softball weathered a Maryland comeback en route to a 6-4 second-round victory in the NISC at Horsetooth Field on Friday afternoon.
The Cougars (34-16, 11-4 WCC) blew the game open in the opening frame after receiving home runs from Huntyr Ava and Maddie Udall for the second time in as many games. They added another run in the second to take a 6-0 advantage through two innings before outlasting the Terrapin attack down the stretch.
- Maddie Bejarano: 3-4, R
- Hailey Morrow: 2-4, R, RBI
- Martha Epenesa: 2-4, R
- Mallory Barber: 2-4
- Chloe Temples: 3.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 8 K
- Kaysen Korth: 3.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 3 K
BYU raced out to an early 5-0 lead thanks to a pair of home runs by Ava and Udall. Maddie Bejarano doubled off the left field screen in the top of the first and was brought home by Ava’s towering 2-run shot down the left-field line. After Hailey Morrow dropped a bloop single into left field and Martha Epenesa doubled to the wall in left center, the Cougars had two in scoring position. Udall then launched a 3-run jack to right center as BYU quickly put up five runs.
Ailana Agbayani singled up the middle in the top of the second inning, moving to second on a passed ball and scoring as Morrow singled to left on a payoff pitch, extending the BYU advantage to 6-0.
Maryland cut into the lead in the bottom of the third inning, scoring two runs off of a couple walks and a single to center, making it 6-2, Cougars. The Terrapins earned a leadoff walk in the bottom of the fifth before homering to center to draw within two of BYU at 6-4.
Unable to capitalize with two runners aboard in the top of the seventh inning, the Cougars took their two-run lead into the bottom of the final inning. Maryland sent a one-out triple to center before drawing a two-out walk that put runners on the corners, but a strikeout looking finished off the Terrapins and sent BYU to one of two Saturday semifinal games.
The Cougars will now face South Dakota State, who beat Tarleton State in an elimination game on Friday afternoon, in Saturday morning's semifinal, slated to have a 9 a.m. MDT first pitch. The game will be streamed on Triple Crown Sports' YouTube channel.
BYU softball will hold walk-on tryouts at Gail Miller Field on Friday, Sept. 8 at 2 p.m. MDT.