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BYU Roundup: Women’s volleyball sweeps USF

By Daily Herald - | Mar 5, 2021

SAN FRANCISCO — No. 15 BYU women’s volleyball defeated San Francisco in straight sets (25-23, 25-20, 25-21) at the War Memorial Gym in San Francisco on Friday afternoon.

Sophomore setter Whitney Bower recorded her second consecutive double-double with 37 assists and 10 digs while helping the Cougars hit .364 on the day. Senior outside hitter Taylen Ballard-Nixon connected on 11 kills and sophomore opposite Kate Grimmer totaled 10 kills on a .500 clip.

Senior middle blocker Kennedy Eschenberg led the team in blocks for the fifth match in a row with six. Freshman libero Madi Allen and sophomore libero Grace Wee both ended the match with 10 digs apiece. Allen also led the team from the service line with three aces.

BYU (9-1, 8-1 WCC) outblocked San Francisco (5-6, 5-6 WCC) 9-1 while holding the Dons to a .235 hitting percentage.

BYU and San Francisco will play the second match of the season series at 1 p.m. PST Saturday. The match will be broadcast on the WCC Network.

Men’s volleyball takes care of Concordia, USC

The No. 2 BYU Cougars picked up a pair of road wins, sweeping Concordia Irvine (25-20, 25-19, 25-19) Thursday and USC (25-22, 25-22, 25-20) on Friday.

BYU held CUI to a .198 hitting percentage, with 12 Concordia hitting errors and 12 BYU blocks contributing to that. The Cougars hit their way to .375 (49-10-104) and had five team aces.

Outside hitter Zach Eschenberg matched his career-high 16 kills on a .469 clip with only one error.

Against USC, Davide Gardini and Gabi Garcia Fernandez each had 14 kills and Wil Stanley finished with 36 assists in the Cougars’ third straight sweep. BYU hit .296 while holding the Trojans to .216. The Cougars also outblocked USC 10.5 to 8.5.

BYU (7-2, 7-2) returns to the Smith Fieldhouse on March 12 and 13 for a pair of matches against Stanford.

Cougars lose pitchers’ duel

CORVALLIS, Oregon — A two-out RBI single by Wade Meckler in the bottom of the eighth inning with the bases loaded gave No. 20 Oregon State a 1-0 victory over BYU in game one of a three-game series on Thursday.

“We had a few opportunities throughout the game but just couldn’t get the big hit,” said BYU head coach Mike Littlewood.

BYU’s best scoring opportunity came in the top of the six when sophomore Payton Cole doubled down the right field line to open the inning. Sophomore Andrew Pintar and senior Mitch McIntyre then drew back-to-back walks to load the bases with no outs. Beaver starter Kevin Abel struck out the next three Cougars on 15 pitches to end the threat.

BYU got outstanding pitching performances from sophomores Easton Walker and Mikade Johnson. The two surrendered just six hits and no runs over seven and a third innings, while combining for eight strikeouts. Oregon entered the game hitting .324 as a team with 61 runs in eight games.

“Abel was very impressive tonight and Easton matched him pitch for pitch,” said Littlewood. “Easton gave us a great start and a chance to win against a talented Oregon State lineup.”

Game two of the series is scheduled for 5:35 p.m. PST Friday, March 5. The game will be streamed live by Oregon State and also broadcast by BYU Sports Network on BYU Radio FM 107.9, BYUCougars.com and the BYU Cougars app.

BYU softball beats Cal, loses to Stanford

STANFORD, Calif. — Rylee Jensen hit a walk-off homer to beat California 8-7 on the first day of the DeMarini Invitational on Thursday afternoon.

“We fought hard today against two very good teams,” BYU head coach Gordon Eakin said. “I am proud of our fight.”

With the score tied at 7-all, BYU held Cal in the top of the eighth inning. The Cougars sent their leadoff hitter, Jensen, to the plate and the senior sent the ball out of the park to walk it off for the 8-7 win.

In the nightcap against Stanford, BYU rallied from behind with two outs in the seventh. A double from Mallory Barber brought home two runners and was followed up with a single from Jensen drove Barber home to make the score 5-3. However, it wasn’t enough as BYU ultimately fell 5-3.

On Friday, Autumn Moffat-Korth spun a five-hitter and Hanna Jo Peterson drove in a pair of runs in a 4-1 victory against UC Santa Barbara.

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