Chris Capper's breaking ball was working well in nine innings at Portland where he struck out five in a 3-2 Cougar victory in 12 innings. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
PORTLAND, Ore. (March 23, 2012)—Mason Marshall helped BYU (8-9) baseball maintain first place in a doubleheader split Friday with a 3-2 win over the University of Portland (14-4).
Portland came back to win game two of the twin bill, 3-1. With the split, BYU is now 3-2 in the West Coast Conference, while Portland is 1-1. Reliever Marshall picked up his first college win in the 12-inning victory and kept his earned run average at 0.00 through 13-plus innings of action this season.
Marshall, a 5-10 freshman, sealed a standout pitching performance by winless Chris Capper, who threw 121 pitches through nine complete innings and left game one with the score tied, 2-2.
“My breaking pitch was on today and it has been my bread and butter in past years,” said Capper. “My teammates played great defense behind me. Today was one of my most favorite games I’ve played at BYU. I felt really confident. I wasn’t nervous. I battled and just made some good pitches.”
Capper struck out a Pilot with a runner aboard to end the second when BYU had a 1-0 lead. A 5-4-3 double play got Capper out of a fourth-inning jam with the score knotted 2-2. Capper started a 1-6-3 double play to escape the sixth. In the ninth, Capper stopped a Pilot rally with runners at second and third after surrendering a leadoff double.
Another sterling defensive play aided the Cougars in the 10th inning when center fielder Stephen Wells threw out Kris Kauppila, who ran wide at first after his single.
BYU third baseman Dillon Robinson led off the 12th and got on base when pitcher Kyle Krause overthrew first base. Robinson advanced to third off Kelton Caldwell’s sacrifice bunt. Then Cougar second baseman Adam Law jumped on the first pitch off Pilot reliever Owen Jones for a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Robinson.
In the bottom of the 12th, Cougar Jaycob Brugman chased down a long fly ball in right field for the first Pilot out to aid in the 3-2 victory.
“I felt really good and was excited to come out and pitch today,” said Marshall. “Capper deserves that win more than anybody. He is our captain and leader, I look up to him a lot.”
Pitching was premium in the games, which were moved to Hilken Stadium at nearby Concordia University because of its artificial turf. Rains caused Thursday’s opening game to be postponed to a Friday doubleheader away from the UP campus.
In Friday’s nightcap, BYU left-hander Mark Anderson was tagged with his first loss of the season against four wins.
“It fell apart after we got two quick outs,” said BYU coach Vance Law of the third inning when Portland built a 3-0 lead. “I was happy that (Marc) Oslund pitched a fine ball game from then on. The name of the game is how difficult it was to get runs off (Travis) Radke; he is a tough guy to face. I thought the whole day was well-pitched other than that half inning.”
With one out, a 4-6-3 double play got Anderson out of a jam in the second with the bases loaded from three hits.
In the loss, Brugman led off the fourth with a double, but was tagged out at third when he over-slid the bag.
The Cougars got a runner to third in the eighth inning of game two when Wells got aboard on a three-base error. Wells got BYU on the scoreboard when he scored on Tanner Chauncey’s one-out single, cutting the margin to 3-1.
Pinch-hitter Jarrett Jarvis led off with a double to center field in the ninth. Jarvis advanced to third on a wild pitch but was stranded there when the game ended.
The two teams play a rubber match on Saturday at 1 p.m., with game three being played at Joe Etzel Field on the UP campus. That game will be broadcast live locally over Radio 960 AM and through BYU Radio on the Internet.