Cameron Muh | Posted: 20 May 2023 | Updated: 12 Jul 2023

BYU falls to Iowa in NISC title game, 9-7

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BYU softball team cheers before 2023 NISC title game vs. Iowa
Maddie Bejarano, Maddie Udall and Chloe Temples named to 2023 NISC All-Tournament team

FORT COLLINS, Co. — BYU softball fell to Iowa, 9-7 in a back-and-forth NISC title game at Red Rocks Field on Saturday afternoon.


The Cougars (35-17, 11-4 WCC) got down early before tying the game twice and taking the lead in the sixth inning, but a five-run seventh by the Hawkeyes proved to be too much to overcome.

BYU tallied eight hits to Iowa’s 11, and left six on base to the Hawkeyes' 10. The Cougars had three players named to the All-Tournament team after their NISC runner-up finish: left fielder Maddie Bejarano, designated player Maddie Udall and left-handed pitcher Chloe Temples.

Player Highlights

  • Maddie Bejarano: 1-3, R, 3 RBI
  • Martha Epenesa: 1-4, 2 R
  • Alexis Gilio: 2-3, R, RBI

Iowa struck first, landing a one-out home run over the left field fence to take a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning.

BYU answered back in its half of the second as Martha Epenesa reached on a fielder’s choice, advanced to third on Tristen Turlington’s single off the right field screen and scored on a Udall sacrifice fly to tie the game at 1-1.

The Hawkeyes loaded the bases in the third, but starting pitcher Kaysen Korth got a swinging strikeout and fly out to keep the game knotted at one apiece.

Iowa broke the tie in the fourth with a leadoff single through the left side and a home run poked out to left center, going ahead 3-1 and bringing on Temples in relief for the Cougars.

Adding to its lead in the fifth inning, Iowa sent out another solo home run to go ahead 4-1. BYU again responded, with Ailana Agbayani and Alexis Gilio both beating out infield singles before Bejarano launched a 3-run homer out to center field, tying the game at 4-all.

The Cougars added three more runs in the sixth inning to take their first lead of the game, with Hailey Morrow dropping a single into left and Epenesa reaching on a bunt. Jaelynn Lambert then laid down a bunt and ended up at third after a Hawkeye error where the ball ended up in shallow left field on an attempted throw out.

Gilio singled into center a couple batters later to score Lambert, and make it 7-4, BYU. The Cougars would load the bases after Agbayani walked and Lauren Flanders beat out an infield single, but a line out halted BYU from tacking on more insurance runs.

After two quick outs on three pitches in the top of the seventh, the Cougars had Iowa down to its final strike before the Hawkeyes put together a two-out rally that spanned two pitching changes and plated five runs on four hits, two walks and one error to regain the lead, at 9-7.

BYU drew a two-out walk in the bottom of the seventh inning, but a fly out to left field sealed its fate and finished off the championship game for the Hawkeyes.

The Cougars conclude their 2023 season with a 35-17 overall record and will next take the field in 2024 as members of the Big 12 Conference.

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