BYU won its third game in two days over Iowa State Saturday with an 11-7 win over the Cyclones.
The Cougars cruised past Iowa State in a doubleheader Friday, taking their visitors down 11-3 in the first matchup before shutting out the Cyclones 5-0 in the second meeting.
BYU sophomore outfielder Violet Zavodnik got things started for the Cougars Saturday, bringing in their first five runs. Three of those scores came in the first inning off a three-run shot over the centerfield wall. Two innings later, she homered again. The Cougars’ slugger brought in her final run with an RBI single in the fourth.
Zavodnik has paced BYU’s offense all year, going into Saturday’s contest with a .419 batting average and 28 RBI. After this weekend’s three-game sweep of the Cyclones, Zavodnik now leads the team in home runs with 10, going the distance on three separate occasions against Iowa State.
“I’ve been impressed with Zavodnik since the moment I recruited her,” BYU coach Gordon Eakin said. “She was dialed in today.”
Iowa State might have countered Zavodnik’s impressive start had it not been for a rare batting out of order violation. The Cyclones got their first run on the board in the second inning before realizing they had had the wrong batter at the plate. She was ruled out, the run was nullified, and the Cougars came out of the inning unscathed.
The Cyclones finally found their bats in the fifth, scoring six runs and taking a one-point lead. BYU starting pitcher Chloe Temples was relieved midway through the inning only to reenter later, getting the final two outs for the Cougars before any more damage was done.
“One of our core values is to be resilient,” Eakin said. “Today was the definition of being resilient. We had total control of the game five to nothing and in one inning we lose the lead 6-5. But we weathered that by being resilient, by believing in ourselves.”
The Cougars showed their resiliency by regaining the lead with four runs of their own in the fifth. They added to their cushion with two more runs in the sixth, the first coming on a solo home run by junior first baseman Huntyr Ava.
BYU kept the Cyclones at bay in the final two innings, holding on for the win. The victory brings the Cougars’ record to 22-7 on the season.
The Cougars have had some great stretches this year, with three separate winning streaks of four games or more. The school started its season with a loss at UNLV before rattling off nine straight victories. At the beginning of this month, BYU put together another winning streak — picking up four consecutive victories. Later in the month, the Cougars won five straight.
This weekend, BYU started a new streak, with its three wins over Iowa State. Eakin was impressed with his squad’s play against the Cyclones. “It’s hard to sweep any quality team,” he said. “I’m proud of our players for sweeping Iowa State, who’s a very good team.”
BYU has been a very good team under Eakin, having won the West Coast Conference every year since joining it in 2014. The last time the Cougars ended the regular season without a league championship they were still a member of the Mountain West Conference, and the year was 2008. BYU will begin conference play starting April 8 against Loyola Marymount.
The Cougars will resume their nonconference schedule next week when they welcome New Mexico to Provo for a trio of games. BYU and the Lobos will face off in a doubleheader Thursday evening before playing a final contest Friday afternoon.