Just when it looked like Utah was about to grab a come-from-behind victory and move into a tie for first place in the Mountain West Conference standings, BYU stormed back with a seventh-inning rally to take a 5-4 victory Friday afternoon at Ute Field.
The Cougars scored three runs in the top of the seventh to stun the Utes (26-22, 9-6), who fell two games behind the first-place Cougars. BYU improved to 11-4 in MWC play and 37-16 overall.
"I'm proud of our girls for not giving up when we put ourselves in deficit situation," BYU coach Gordon Eakin said. "It has been the hallmark of our team during this conference season."
Things looked dire for the Cougars after Utah's Kara Foster smacked a two-run home run over the left-center field fence in the bottom of the sixth to give the Utes a 4-2 lead.
However, BYU's Kristin Delahoussaye led off the top of the seventh inning with a long ball over the right-center fence to cut the margin to one. Amanda Vance singled and then Daniela Snow hit a homer down the left-field line to put the Cougars up 5-4.
"I was expecting the pitch so I sat back and went for it," Snow said.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Utes' Meghan Crouse led off with a single and made it to third base on a fielder's choice and a wild pitch. However, BYU pitcher Chrstina Gwyn-Trice, who had re-entered the game in the seventh in relief of Paige Affleck, got Devina Qunitero to fly out to right field.
"That was a tough one to lose," said Utah coach Amy Hogue. "We got out of some big-time situations. We had kids that competed really hard and we had an opportunity to win that game."
The Cougars got on the board first, scoring in the fourth inning thanks to an error on a throw to first, which plated Angeline Quiocho.
The Utes came right back in the bottom of the inning to take the lead at 2-1. Diana Phillips opened with a double and Sharee Fonoti and Quintero followed with singles and Angle Boardman knocked home the go-ahead run with a single up the middle.
The Cougars tied the score in the top of the sixth when Caschjen Davis drove in Snow on a slow-moving grounder the Utes couldn't handle. Then in the bottom of the inning, Foster parked a long home run after Quintero walked.
The Utes hope to get a split today when the two rivals meet at 1 p.m. at Ute Field. Last month the Utes and Cougars split two games in Provo.
"I expect our kids to step up tomorrow too," said Hogue.