Cameron Muh | Posted: 16 Jun 2023 | Updated: 19 Jul 2023

BYU Softball 2023 Season Review

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2023 BYU softball senior day vs. Pacific_5.6.23

PROVO, Utah — In its final season as a member of the West Coast Conference, BYU softball posted a runner-up finish in both the National Invitational Softball Championship (NISC) and in league, going 35-17 overall and 11-4 in WCC play.

2023 Season Summary
The Cougars made a run to the NISC title game, coming from behind to beat San José State in their tournament opener, avenging an early-season loss in a win over Maryland and shutting out South Dakota State before falling to Iowa after a late rally by the Hawkeyes in the championship.

Reeling off three separate six-game win streaks, including a 5-0 stretch at Arizona State’s Littlewood Classic with a win over the No. 22 Sun Devils, BYU tallied 35 wins for the third-consecutive year and 30 wins for the 22nd-straight season (excluding the COVID-shortened 2020 season).

Beginning their 2023 campaign in Mexico, the Cougars went 2-2 at the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge before winning five-straight games at ASU’s Littlewood Classic. Posting a 1-3 finish at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic and a 3-1 record at Utah Tech’s Trailblazer Tournament, BYU wrapped up its early season tournaments.

The Cougars picked up a single-game win at Utah Tech before hosting Idaho State in a home-opening doubleheader on March 18. After another win over the Trailblazers in St. George, BYU took a trip to the Bayou, going 2-2 at LSU’s Purple & Gold Challenge.

Embarking on their last year in the WCC, the Cougars earned sweeps of Santa Clara, San Diego and Pacific, while going 1-2 at LMU and Saint Mary’s en route to a second-place finish in league. During WCC play, BYU also went 4-3 against No. 24 Utah, Utah Valley, No. 5 Stanford, Utah State, Utah Tech and No. 2 UCLA.

NFCA All-Region Team
The Cougars had two players honored on the NFCA Pacific All-Region Third Team: first baseman Huntyr Ava and shortstop/pitcher Ailana Agbayani. Ava led the team in RBI (50), home runs (16) and slugging percentage (.746), while Agbayani paced BYU in batting average (.337), hits (59) and stolen bases (12).

All-West Coast Conference Honors
Taking home three major WCC awards, the Cougars placed nine players on All-WCC teams. Ava was honored as Player of the Year, Agbayani was awarded Defensive Player of the Year and catcher Hailey Morrow was named Freshman of the Year.

Ava finished with a .328 batting average and Morrow hit .316. The pair totaled the most RBI on the year, as Ava recorded 50 and Morrow tallied 38. Morrow also had a .989 fielding percentage behind the dish, catching 14 runners stealing. Agbayani pitched 31 ⅔ innings in relief for BYU, posting a 2.43 ERA and 5-3 record with 26 strikeouts.

Ava, Agbayani, pitcher Kaysen Korth and center fielder Violet Zavodnik received All-WCC First Team honors, while left fielder Maddie Bejarano, third baseman Martha Epenesa, Morrow, pitcher Chloe Temples and infielder Tristen Turlington were all named to the All-WCC Second Team.

Korth’s 19 wins were the second-most all-time by a freshman pitcher. She pitched 174 innings for the Cougars, tallying 189 strikeouts and a 2.49 ERA. Zavodnik’s nine homers were tied for second with Morrow, and her 13 hit-by-pitches were a team-high.

Bejarano batted .321 and led the team with 27 walks and 14 sacrifice bunts, hitting the go-ahead home run in the NISC title game. Epenesa finished with a .275 ERA and 18 RBI, while Temples tossed 127 strikeouts in 115 ⅔ innings pitched. 

Turlington started 19 of the 25 games she played in and batted .345 with three home runs and 15 RBI. All three of her homers came on the same night against Pacific, with a solo shot and grand slam in game one of a doubleheader, and a walk-off three-run shot in extra innings of game two.

Academic Awards
Temples highlighted a group of student-athletes that garnered a number of academic awards. She, Lauren Flanders, Taryn Lennon, Alexis Gilio and Alyssa Podhurcak-Foss were all named to the College Sports Communicators Academic All-District Team. Temples was awarded WCC All-Academic First Team honors, with Flanders, Lennon, Gilio and Podhurcak-Foss each earning Second Team honors.

11 student-athletes were named Easton/NFCA All-America Scholar-Athletes: Agbayani, Emma Andrewjeski, Delaney Baker, Flanders, Korth, Lennon, Morrow, Podhurcak-Foss, Lo Salcedo, Temples and Maddie Udall.

A Look Ahead
BYU bid farewell to graduating senior infielders Mallory Barber and Podhurcak-Foss, as well as Epenesa this season. The trio made a splash on senior day, combining to go 4-for-6 with four RBI against Pacific. Epenesa landed her fifth homer of the season in the game, while Barber homered twice, the first two of her Cougar career, including the game-ending two-run shot after Podhurcak-Foss had doubled.

Looking forward to 2024, BYU will embark on its first season as a member of the Big 12 Conference, returning four of its top-hitters in Agbayani, Ava, Bejarano and Morrow. Including those four, the Cougars bring back 11 players who saw significant time in the field during 2023, as well as both Korth and Temples in the circle.

Combining returning talent and a recruiting class of seven incoming freshmen and transfers, BYU looks to begin its time in the Big 12 with a bang and make it back to the NCAA Tournament.

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