Cougars shut out Jackrabbits, advance to NISC championship game
FORT COLLINS, Co. — A three-run homer by Ailana Agbayani and a complete game shutout from Chloe Temple fueled BYU softball to a 5-0 win over South Dakota State in the NISC semifinal at Red Rocks Field on Saturday morning.
The win marked BYU head coach Gordon Eakin's 800th-career victory and earned the Cougars (35-16, 11-4 WCC) a spot in the tournament's title game.
Agbayani led the team in the win with four RBI, including the three-run shot in the third inning, the second home run of her freshman season. Temples recorded 10 strikeouts in her second shutout of the year.
- Ailana Agbayani: 3-4, R, 4 RBI
- Martha Epenesa: 1-2, R
- Maddie Udall: 1-2, RBI
- Chloe Temples: 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 10 K
Scoreless through the first two innings, BYU broke the game open with three runs in the top of the third. Mallory Barber and Alexis Gilio both singled before Agbayani homered out to dead center to put the Cougars up 3-0.
Extending the lead in the following frame, Martha Epenesa led off with a four-pitch walk, advancing to second on a Lauren Flanders sacrifice bunt. Maddie Udall then singled up the middle to score Epenesa, giving BYU a four-run advantage.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, South Dakota State got runners on the corners with a double, wild pitch and walk, but Temples got a fly out and swinging strikeout to get out of the jam unscathed.
The Cougars had two runners aboard in the fifth and the bases loaded in the sixth, but left them stranded on a tag out at home and ground out.
BYU would ultimately not need any more insurance runs as the Jackrabbits managed just one single in the final six outs, with Temples recording four swinging strikeouts out of the six to finish off the shutout and move the Cougars into the championship game.
Now awaiting the winner of the second semifinal between Iowa and Maryland, BYU is slated to play a 3 p.m. MDT for the NISC title. The game will be streamed on Triple Crown Sports’ YouTube channel.
Championship Game Notes
The Cougars' all-time records vs. their two potential title game foes are:
- Iowa leads 4-0
- Last matchup: March 15, 2007, Capital Classic — Iowa 4 | BYU 0
- BYU now leads, 3-2
- The Cougars avenged their 10-2 Puerto Vallarta College Challenge loss to the Terrapins with a 6-4 victory yesterday
BYU softball will hold walk-on tryouts at Gail Miller Field on Friday, Sept. 8 at 2 p.m. MDT.