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BYU softball: Cougars to play four games in Mexico this weekend

BYU softball heads south of the border for games against Nevada, Northern Colorado and Southern Illinois University Carbondale in the Triple Crown Puerto Vallarta College Challenge on Thursday through Saturday.

The Cougars (9-6) are coming off a 3-2 showing at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, picking up wins over UC Santa Barbara, Indiana and Oregon State. The BYU offense scored 15 or more runs for the first time since 2012, putting up 16 against UCSB.

Junior Gordy Bravo has ignited the Cougars at the leadoff spot this season by hitting .469 with three doubles, 13 RBIs and four stolen bases. The outfielder is currently on a career-best hit streak of 13 games while recording a .500 OBP for a career-best reached base streak of 16 games dating back to 2014.

Senior Lacey Hofstedt is second on the team with a .419 batting average and leads BYU with her seven stolen bases this year. Other highlights from the plate include McKenzie St. Clair’s .414 and Coco Tauali’i’s .394 batting averages. Sophomores Ashley Thompson and Sydney Broderick are second and third for the Cougars in runs batted in with 11 and 10, respectively.

Pitcher McKenna Bull has continued her consistent play with a 2.36 ERA and 71 strikeouts with a 9-3 record. The sophomore tied a career high in strikeouts with 14 against Maryland last weekend.

Links to live stats and recaps will be available on the BYU softball schedule page.

Nevada (Thursday at 2 p.m. CST)

The Wolf Pack is 3-12 this season, dropping all five games in the Mary Nutter Classic last weekend. Its three wins have come against Fordham, Cal State Fullerton and UTEP. The Cougars faced Nevada twice in 2014, falling both times.

UNR brings plenty of power to the plate with a team total seven home runs and three players with two dingers each. Karley Hopkins (.372 BA, 14 BB, .526 OBP) leads the team from the plate, while Jasmine Jenkins (.277 BA, two HR, 11 RBIs), Amanda Weis (two HR, seven RBIs) and Ashley Butera (two HR, four RBIs) bring big bats into the contest. Wolf Pack pitchers have split the innings three ways among Megan Dortch (1-3, 5.59 ERA, 34 SO), McKenna Isenberg (0-5, 6.03 ERA, 22 SO) and Chase Redington (2-4, 7.29 ERA, 16 SO).

Northern Colorado (Friday at 9 a.m.)

The Bears take a 3-4 record into this weekend, having clinched wins over Santa Clara, Tulsa and Creighton. Mikayla Duffy (two HR, four RBIs) and Kaitlin Flynn (.444 BA, three HR, eight RBIs) are standouts at the plate. So far this season, Jayme Reddacliff (2-3, 3.04 ERA, 27 ip, 14 SO) and Kelli Kleis (1-1, 4.77 ERA, 14.2 ip) have split the time from the circle. BYU is 4-0 all-time against Northern Colorado with a 9-0 win in its last meeting in 2010.

SIU (Friday at 2 p.m. and Saturday at 11 a.m.)

The Salukis are 2-5 with wins over UMBC and Morehead State and a 5-2 loss to then-No. 5 Kentucky. SIU has not played since Feb. 14, because of rainouts in its tournament at Mississippi last weekend. Savannah Fisher (.357 BA, one HR, three RBIs), Shay Harre (.350 BA, one HR, five RBIs) and Sydney Jones (.286 BA, one HR, six RBIs) highlight the Saluki hitting, while pitcher Katie Bertelsen (0-3, 5.48 ERA, 8 SO) has thrown two complete games from the circle. The Cougars have never faced SIU.

McKay Perry is the sports information director for BYU softball and an assistant sports information director for BYU football. Contact him at softball_sid@byu.edu