Feb. 17, 2011
LAS VEGAS, Nevada - No. 23 Brigham Young scored six times in the fourth inning Thursday to push past Southern Illinois University Edwardsville 10-5 in the opening softball game of the Louisville Slugger Invitational.
SIUE let Brigham Young starter Paige Affleck off the hook in the first inning by stranding three runners. SIUE would strand nine for the game.
"I'm very, very happy with how they played with poise and with confidence," said SIUE Head Coach Sandy Montgomery of her team. "We shocked them in inning one, no question."
After two more tallies in the second inning, including an RBI single by freshman Rachel Coonrod, BYU sent Hannah Howell to the circle in place of Affleck. Howell would halt the Cougar offense by giving up just two hits over the final six innings. She struck out nine batters.
"We had lots of bright spots, but it is game five of 56," said Montgomery.
Brigham Young, 3-3, scored twice in the first inning and two more in the second inning. SIUE held a 5-4 lead until the fourth when BYU erupted for six runs. SIUE starter Ali Downing went 3 1/3 innings. Lindsey Coleman came in relief but was charged with two runs off a hit and three walks. Erika Taylor close out the final 2 2/3 for SIUE, scattering three hits and striking out three.
Caschjen Atagi's two-run double in the fourth put BYU ahead 6-5. Tiffany Messerschmidt and Jessica Fitu also powered BYU with three hits and two RBIs each. BYU outhit SIUE 13-6.
"We expected to be overlooked in this tournament. I think now that we've scored five runs that teams will take us a little more seriously. I think we have the offense to hang at this level. We just have to minimize mistakes and have kids step up in crucial situations," said Montgomery.
SIUE has perhaps its biggest test of the early season and perhaps all season when it takes on No. 1-ranked and defending national champion UCLA at 9 a.m. PT Friday. The Cougars also play Long Beach State at 3:45 p.m. PT.