(Photo by BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)
CEDAR CITY, Utah – Despite four RBI from Ashley Thompson, BYU softball fell 6-5 at Southern Utah on Tuesday, dropping the season series.
“Every time you step on the field, in practice or in games, effort and excellence need to matter," BYU head coach Gordon Eakin said. "This team has the ability to be very good, but when we show up and go through the motions or play selfishly, we are very average. We have a couple of position players that have been carrying this team lately. It's time for the rest of us to step up. It's time to give max effort and play through hard times, injury or anything else that gets in our way. The cold hard fact is that if we don't, summer break is not far away."
This loss snaps the Cougars’ (30-18, 7-2 West Coast Conference) eight-game win streak. Southern Utah (10-37, 5-11 Big Sky) out-hit BYU 9 to 8. The Thunderbirds won the matchup with two errors. This win gives SUU the series win after winning one of two in Provo back on April 5.
Thompson and Lauren Bell led the offensive effort against Southern Utah. Thompson hit 2 for 4 with four RBI and one home run. Bell was 2 for 2 with an RBI off of a sacrifice fly, along with keeping the rally alive in the sixth. Gordy Bravo also hit 2 for 4 with two runs scored. Olivia Sanchez and Arianna Paulson split the pitching effort, throwing a combined five strikeouts.
After a slow start for BYU, Southern Utah loaded the bases in the bottom of the first. Bell was able to make the tough catch on a pop fly for the third out, escaping the potential deficit.
The Cougars had the bases loaded in the top of the second, but the Thunderbirds’ Bailey Nelson caught a line drive to end the top of the frame. Tough defense and strong pitching from both teams kept the game scoreless for three innings.
In the top of the fourth, BYU filled up the bases again after singles from Lexi Tarrow and Bravo. With one out, Bell hit a sacrifice fly to left field to bring in Coco Tauali’i Bond for the first run of the game and the 1-0 lead. In the next at bat, Thompson hit a bomb over left field for a three-run homer. Her 11th home run of the season put BYU up 4-0 over Southern Utah in the fourth inning.
The Thunderbirds responded in the bottom of the fourth with a home run of their own, bringing in two runs to make it 4-2. They then doubled to bring in another pair of runs to tie the game.
BYU took back the lead in the top of the sixth. Thompson singled to centerfield to bring in Bravo and take back the 5-4 lead. However, SUU came out swinging in the bottom of the frame, scoring two to go ahead 6-5.
Unable to rally in the seventh, the Cougars dropped their first game since April 9.
BOX SCORE: BYU vs. SUU
This weekend, BYU will host its final home games of the season in a three-game series with WCC foe Santa Clara. The teams will play one on Friday at 6 p.m. MDT and a doubleheader on Saturday starting at 12 p.m. MDT.