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BYU softball reaches NISC title game but loses to Iowa, baseball ends season

By Staff | May 20, 2023

Courtesy BYU Photo

BYU softball players huddle up during the NISC tournament at Red Rocks Field in Fort Collins, Colorado, on Saturday, May 20, 2023.

It was a great run for the BYU softball in the National Invitational Softball Championship tournament, one that featured wins over San Jose State, Maryland and South Dakota State.

But in the end, Iowa proved to be just slightly better in the championship.

The Cougars fell to the Hawkeyes, 9-7 in a back-and-forth title game at Red Rocks Field in Fort Collins, Colorado, on Saturday afternoon.

BYU (35-17, 11-4 WCC) got down early before tying the game twice and taking the lead in the sixth inning, but a five-run seventh by the Hawkeyes proved to be too much to overcome.

BYU tallied eight hits to Iowa’s 11, and left six on base to the Hawkeyes’ 10. The Cougars had three players named to the All-Tournament team after their NISC runner-up finish: left fielder Maddie Bejarano, designated player Maddie Udall and left-handed pitcher Chloe Temples.

Iowa got a solo home run to go ahead 4-1 in the fifth inning, but BYU responded. Ailana Agbayani and Alexis Gilio both beat out infield singles before Bejarano launched a 3-run homer out to center field, tying the game at 4-all.

The Cougars added three more runs in the sixth inning to take their first lead of the game, with Hailey Morrow dropping a single into left and Epenesa reaching on a bunt. Jaelynn Lambert then laid down a bunt and ended up at third after a Hawkeye error where the ball ended up in shallow left field on an attempted throw out.

Gilio singled into center a couple batters later to score Lambert, and make it 7-4, BYU. The Cougars would load the bases after Agbayani walked and Lauren Flanders beat out an infield single, but a line out halted BYU from tacking on more insurance runs.

After two quick outs on three pitches in the top of the seventh, the Cougars had Iowa down to its final strike before the Hawkeyes put together a two-out rally that spanned two pitching changes and plated five runs on four hits, two walks and one error to regain the lead, at 9-7.

The Cougars conclude their 2023 season with a 35-17 overall record and will next take the field in 2024 as members of the Big 12 Conference.

BYU baseball falls to Pepperdine to end season

BYU baseball recognized 11 seniors prior to a 19-6 season finale loss to Pepperdine at Miller Park on Saturday.

Among the Cougar seniors were third basemen, Howser Award semifinalist and newly minted West Coast Conference Triple Crown-winner Austin Deming. The Santa Clara, Utah, native closed out the 2023 regular season hitting .420 with 68 RBI and 19 home runs, overcoming runner-up Ryan Johnson of Pepperdine, who finished with 18 round trippers.

With the 2-1 series win over the Waves, the Cougars finished the season 24-28 and 13-14 in WCC play with a 14-8 record at Miller Park. Pepperdine wraps its 2023 campaign at 19-30 (8-19).

Having been eliminated from the WCC Tournament contention, BYU now prepares to compete in the Big 12 in 2024 after officially joining the conference on July 1.


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