NCAA softball: BYU advances to regional championship
Eugene, Ore. • In a win-or-go-home scenario, BYU defeated Portland State 2-0 behind pitcher Tori Almond's a two-hit effort Friday in the Eugene Regional of the NCAA Women's Softball Tournament.
Brigham Young is also playing without WAC Player of the Year Delaney Willard, who injured her right throwing hand Thursday. She will probably miss Saturday's action.
The Cougars advance to the championship round against Oregon at 1 p.m. Saturday at Howe Field in Eugene, Ore. BYU must defeat host and 11th-seeded Oregon twice to advance to the Super Regional. A second game, if needed, is scheduled for 4 p.m.
Earlier Friday, Oregon (40-15) exploded for five runs in the third inning behind Christie Nieto's two-out grand slam and held on to take a 6-4 victory over BYU in a winner's bracket game.
BYU had a chance to take the lead against the Ducks in the fifth inning. The Cougars had already scored twice with one out but left the bases loaded.
Almond did not allow a hit after the second inning. She walked two and struck out seven.
Meanwhile, the Cougars received all the offense they would need in the first inning Stacie Toney single. Jessica Dugas, who had two of BYU's five hits, drove home an insurance run in the fifth.
Dugas opened BYU's half of the first with a double to left-center field. She advanced to third on a Tiffany Messerschmidt single and scored one out later on Toney's single.
In the fifth, following Dugas' RBI knock, the Cougars loaded the bases but J.C. Clayton lined out to end the inning.
Portland threatened in the fourth and fifth innings, pushing runners into scoring position. Almond ended the fourth with a strikeout and induced Conn to pop out to finish the fifth.
BYU last qualified for a Super Regional in 2010, losing the best-of-three series.