(Photo by Jonathan Hardy/BYU Photo)
RENO, Nev. - Four home runs, including a three-run shot by Delaney Willard that made the senior the new Western Athletic Conference RBI single-season record holder, led the BYU softball team to an 8-0 win at Nevada on Friday.
After tying the 14-year-old record on Wednesday at Utah Valley with a solo home run, Willard's bomb over the center field fence in the fourth inning brought in three runs, the first of which was by fellow senior Tiffany Messerschmidt to break the previous record of 77 RBI. Willard now has 80 this year with a minimum of least four games still to play this season.
First baseman Katie Manuma added two more home runs for the first multi-homer game of her career and pitcher Hannah Howell struck out eight, tying a career high in just five innings for her second 1-hitter of the season. Howell is now 18-7 this season.
"We had a good pregame session and came out solid," said BYU coach Gordon Eakin. "I thought pitching, hitting and fielding all went well."
The Cougars rocked the Wolf Pack right from the start. Manuma led off the second inning with a solo home run, one of two on the day after also going deep the very next inning.
Senior Krista Hicks also hit a solo homer in the second inning to give BYU a 2-0 lead. The score was doubled after a double from Jessica Dugas brought in Shelbi Everett and a double steal play by the Cougars resulted in Messerschmidt stealing second and Dugas scoring from third, pushing the lead to 4-0.
After striking out the side in the second inning, Howell faced just four batters in the third and fourth before drawing three-straight groundouts to end the game in five innings.
BYU and Nevada face off again on Saturday starting at 1 p.m. PT in a doubleheader to finish out the regular season for both teams.