Riley Gates struck out three in the final two innings of a 9-3 upset win at No. 19 San Diego. (Photo by BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)
SAN DIEGO (April 21, 2017)—A 9-8 upset in 10 innings gave BYU baseball its first-ever win at San Diego’s Fowler Park over the No. 19 Toreros on Friday night.
“This was a total team effort,” BYU coach Mike Littlewood said. “We fought through some adversity early in the game and then stayed with it until the end. To say I'm proud of the effort is the understatement of the year.”
Minutes before an enforced neighborhood curfew, reliever Riley Gates struck out two batters in the 10th to improve his record to 3-1 and defeat first-place San Diego (27-10 overall, 13-4 West Coast Conference).
BYU (21-14 and 10-4) got the go-ahead run in the extra frame when a wild pitch ricocheted off the catcher’s leg, enabling Kyle Dean to score from third base. Dean had walked in his first four at bats of the game.
The resilient Cougars rallied from deficits of 6-1 through the third and 7-3 through the sixth, trailing nearly the entire game until the eighth inning.
BYU tied the game twice in the late innings and once in the second inning. DH Brock Hale doubled for the second time in as many innings to lead off the eighth and was replaced by pinch-runner Connor Williams. Williams, a pitcher-outfielder, scored the tying run at 7-7 off of Colton Shaver’s single, who earlier extended his team-leading hitting streak to six games
USD tied the game in the eighth, but BYU answered when pinch-hitter Casey Jacobsen’s two-out gap single scored Daniel Schneemann to knot the game at 8-8 in the ninth.
Cougar Bronson Larsen tied the game at one-all with a solo homer, his eighth of the season, in the second inning, pounding his shot over left field. USD had taken the early lead in the first inning from a solo home run by Jay Schuyler.
The four hour, 20-minute game had several Cougar web gems.
Shortstop Schneemann executed a couple defensive highlights in the second inning to save runs. He made a spot-on throw to third for out number one. Then Schneemann was on the receiving end at third base of a throw from leftfielder Brennon Andersen to Colton Shaver for the second out.
Brennon Anderson’s two-run homer in the fourth to left field closed the gap to 6-3. The Cougars escaped a jam in the bottom of that frame, highlighted by catcher Larsen taking a carom from a wild pitch, then tossing to reliever Bo Burrup at home plate to tag a head-first dive by Riley Adams.
Another favorable carom went BYU’s way in the seventh when Hale led off with a double that zigzagged off third base to set up the first of two runs that frame. Reserve catcher David Clawson chased down a wild pitch and pegged Torero Hunter Mercado-Hood trying to steal third to end the seventh.
In the eighth, a diving Shaver snag of a liner made the first out and the inning was ended by Larsen playing the ball off the leftfield wall to start a 7-6-2 relay putout at the plate to end the frame, trailing 8-7.
Game three of the series is Saturday at 1 p.m. PDT.