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BYU Ends Season in Columbia Regional

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(Courtesy of BYU Media Relations)

COLUMBIA, Mo. – BYU softball ended its season at the Columbia Regional hosted by the University of Missouri, giong 1-2 on the weekend to conclude postseason play.

BYU fell 9-0 to No. 15 Missouri in five innings on Thursday in the second game of the NCAA Columbia Regional after giving up six runs in the second inning.

“Missouri deserves the credit," BYU coach Gordon Eakin said. "They took it to us. They hit the ball really well and their pitcher was bringin it. Now it's win or go home."

BYU (35-20) lost its second game to Missouri (40-14) of the season. The Cougars were run-ruled after giving up nine earned runs and only getting two hits. McKenna Bull had four strikeouts from the circle, but her record dropped to 26-12. Gordy Bravo and Madison Merrell had the only two hits of the game.

Libby Sugg’s career-high five RBI kept BYU’s postseason alive with a 6-4 win over Louisville in the Columbia Regional.

Gordy Bravo hit a single up the middle in the second pitch of the game to get things going for the Cougars. A sacrifice bunt from Lauren Bell advanced Bravo to second, and two walks loaded up the bases. Alexa Strid then hit a sacrifice fly to right field, allowing Bravo enough time to sprint home for the early 1-0 lead.

The Cardinals struck back in the bottom of the first with a two-run homer over the left field fence to go up 2-1 after one inning.

The top of the third saw Bell reaching on a single to right field. Ashley Thompson followed that up with a bunt spinning just in front of home plate to stay fair for another single. To take back the lead, Sugg hit a home run over left field to bring in three runs. BYU took the 4-2 advantage and forced a pitching change with no outs. The Cardinals’ pitcher, Maryssa Becker, struck out three to end the inning, leaving two stranded.

Coming off of her great play on defense, Bond led off the sixth inning with a single popped right over third base to find the gap. Two-straight singles from Bravo and Bell loaded up the bases, then Thompson hit a fielder’s choice when the Cardinals’ defense threw out Bond at home plate, keeping the bases full. Sugg hit a single to the hole in left center to get Bravo and Bell home, extending the lead to 6-2.

Louisville responded in the bottom of the sixth with a two-run homer over left field to close in on the lead, 6-4, with two outs. Bull stopped the rally with her fourth strikeout of the game.

The Cougars got off to a rough start against the Huskers. The defense gave up two runs on four hits before getting the third out, going down 2-0 early on. Then the offense struggled, going three up, three down in the bottom of the first.

In the top of the third, the Cougars retired the Cornhuskers in order behind two strikeouts from Sanchez. McKenzie St. Clair made it to third base in the bottom of the third after stealing second and sprinting to third after an overthrow. Bell put down a squeeze bunt to get St. Clair home, but the tag was made at home, preventing the run.

After hitless and scoreless innings in the third and fourth for both teams, Nebraska threatened to score in the top of the fifth. BYU held though with Sugg catching the third out popped up at home plate. The Cougars were then taken down in order, however, after all three batters were flown out to the outfield.

BYU got three quick outs in the top of the seventh to get up to bat for the final rally. Sanchez shutout Nebraska for six straight innings. Despite their efforts, the Cougars fell short, falling 2-0 to the Huskers.