Hayden Nielsen scored BYU's lone run in a 7-1 loss Thursday at the University of San Diego. (Photo by BYU Photo/Mark Philbrick)
SAN DIEGO—Perennial power San Diego continued its stranglehold over BYU baseball with a 7-1 victory Thursday night to start a three-game series.
No. 29 USD (14-9 overall, 6-1 in league), behind the nine strikeouts by David Hill (5-2), won a pitcher’s duel and padded its first-place lead in the West Coast Conference. The Cougars (11-14, 4-3) had runners in scoring position a couple times from their five hits during the game, but failed to capitalize like the Toreros.
“David Hill was the difference tonight," BYU coach Mike LIttlewood said. "We had a chance to strike early in the first inning, but he pitched his way out of it and he was lights out from there. Once in a while you just have to tip your hat to the opposing pitcher and tonight was one of those nights.Our guys have a toughness about them and I know we'll come back tomorrow ready to play. ”
BYU’s lone run came in the fourth inning when Hayden Nielsen scooted around second and third bases to score after Colton Shaver stroked a two-out double down the left field line to close the gap to 2-1.
The rest of the way San Diego, who has a 14-1 series lead over the Cougars, took advantage of advancement opportunities, while BYU wasn’t as successful with similar chances. Few things went right for the Cougars, while the Toreros kept the pressure on them throughout the game, adding five hits in the two-run sixth inning to the five they tallied prior to that point.
USD tried to extend its 6-1 lead in the two-run eighth after pinch-hitter Conner Jauch led off that inning with solo home run. But BYU leftfielder Derrick Whitney fielded a double, then hit cutoff man Nielsen, who pegged the USD runner out at home when Jarrett Jarvis applied the tag.
Brennon Lund extended his hitting streak to 12 games, doubling on the first pitch of the game, and Eric Urry extended his streak to six games with a single in the second inning.
The Cougars continue the series at San Diego on Friday night with a live broadcast on BYU Radio 960 AM and live online on theW.tv.