"Change" Downs Lobos

Sophomore southpaw Jake Wortham used his change-up to baffle the Lobos. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

LAS -- They say a change is better than a rest and that's what led to BYU's 5-3 victory Thursday over New Mexico in the Mountain West Conference Baseball Tournament.

For well-rested BYU, now 36-18 following a first-round bye, the "change" worked as a pitch for lefty Jake Wortham. The Texas sophomore twirled his magic through seven-plus innings en route to improving his record to 8-4.

"We're in Las Vegas, so I thought I may as well throw the dice and it turned out well," said BYU Coach Vance Law of his decision to start Wortham in favor of MWC Pitcher of the Year Jesse Craig. Craig, 10-2, will throw against regular season and defending league champion TCU on Friday.

"I was able to throw strikes and had control of my off-speed today," said Wortham. "Earlier in the season I had forgotten how to throw my change-up."

The "change" also was taken advantage by teammate Apana Nakayama, who bailed Wortham out with a two-run homer, his 11th of the season, in the third inning.

The Cougars had fallen behind, 2-0, in the second inning based on a walk, a pair of Lobo singles and a double steal play where BYU catcher J.T. Musso's throw to second caromed off Max Willet.

Nakayama's rightfield blast off Stephen Smith's 1-0 change put BYU back in the game until the fifth when Wortham was called for a controversial balk. That balk sent Jay Russell home from third and put UNM up 3-2.

BYU continued to battle, but stranded runners on base in every inning but its last in the eighth. Wortham baffled the Lobos, whom he set down in order in the first, third, fourth and sixth innings.

Freshmen Stephen Wells and Steve Parker cashed in during the seventh inning to give BYU its lead. In that inning Wells got aboard with his second single of the day, stole second and advanced to third on the overthrow error. An error on the next play when Nakayama hit a grounder to short allowed Wells to score on a low throw to tie the game.

Two batters later Parker hit the game-winning RBI with a huge no-out, gap double off a 3-1 count to give BYU its only lead, 5-3.

Parker had given Wortham an assist in the sixth with a 5-4-3 double play. With two on and two out in the eighth, Wortham yielded to reliever Matt Jensen. Jensen had a single glance off his hand to load the bases before he escaped.

Jensen recorded two strikeouts swinging to close the ninth and record his fourth save of the season.

"Jake (Wortham) pitched outstanding, he is one of our best competitors," said Law. "He controlled the strike zone. The key was him throwing his breaking ball for strikes."

The Cougars stay in the winner's bracket for a rematch against the Horned Frogs at 3 p.m. PDT.

New Mexico at BYU

May 24, 2007 at Las Vegas, NV (Earl E. Wilson)

New Mexico 3 (27-29)

Player AB R H RBI BB SO PO A LOB

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FOOTE, Matt cf........... 3 0 0 0 1 2 2 0 0

PACHECO, Jordan 2b....... 3 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 0

STOVALL, Daniel 1b....... 4 0 1 0 0 0 9 0 0

HIBBITTS, Matt dh........ 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0

HOLLICK, Ian 3b.......... 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3

COURCHA, Adam c.......... 2 1 0 0 2 0 8 1 0

RUSSELL, Jay lf.......... 4 2 3 0 0 0 1 0 0

WILLETT, Max rf.......... 3 0 1 1 0 1 1 0 1

GRACEY, Scott ss......... 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 1

PILKINGTON, Derek ph.... 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1

SMITH, Stephen p......... 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 0

HEWETT, Brandon p....... 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0

Totals................... 31 3 6 1 4 4 24 10 6

BYU 5 (36-18)

Player AB R H RBI BB SO PO A LOB

------------------------------------------------------

JOHNSON, Leon rf......... 5 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 1

WELLS, Stephen cf........ 5 2 2 0 0 0 2 0 1

NAKAYAMA, Apana dh....... 4 2 2 2 0 0 0 0 0

WALTON, Kent lf.......... 4 1 2 0 0 1 2 0 1

PARKER, Steve 3b......... 3 0 2 2 1 0 0 2 0

KO, Kasey 1b............. 4 0 1 0 0 0 14 0 1

HALL, Austin 2b.......... 3 0 1 0 0 1 2 4 2

MUSSO, J.T. c............ 4 0 1 0 0 3 4 0 1

VARGAS, Dan ss........... 2 0 0 0 0 2 1 6 2

WORTHAM, Jake p.......... 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0

JENSEN, Matt p.......... 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Totals................... 34 5 11 4 1 8 27 15 9

Score by Innings R H E

-------------------------------------------

New Mexico.......... 020 010 000 - 3 6 2

BYU................. 002 000 30X - 5 11 0

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E - STOVALL(6); COURCHA(2). DP - BY 1. LOB - NM 6; BY 9. 2B - PARKER(12). HR

- NAKAYAMA(11). HBP - HALL; VARGAS. SH - WILLETT(4); VARGAS(5). SB -

RUSSELL(4); WILLETT(4); WELLS(7); HALL(6). CS - VARGAS(2).

New Mexico IP H R ER BB SO AB BF

-----------------------------------------------

SMITH, Stephen...... 7.0 11 5 5 1 8 32 36

HEWETT, Brandon..... 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2

BYU IP H R ER BB SO AB BF

-----------------------------------------------

WORTHAM, Jake....... 7.2 5 3 3 3 2 26 30

JENSEN, Matt........ 1.1 1 0 0 1 2 5 6

Win - WORTHAM (8-4). Loss - SMITH, S (6-9). Save - JENSEN (4).

HBP - by SMITH, S (HALL); by SMITH, S (VARGAS). BK - WORTHAM(3).

Umpires - HP: Ray Leible 1B: Jason Rogers 2B: Tom Chandler 3B: John Ausmus

Start: 11:05 Time: 2:24 Attendance:

Game notes:

ID-548069

SMITH, S faced 1 batter in the 8th.

New Mexico starters: 12/cf FOOTE; 1/2b PACHECO; 34/1b STOVALL; 15/dh HIBBITTS;

10/3b HOLLICK; 2/c COURCHA; 3/lf RUSSELL; 18/rf WILLETT; 7/ss GRACEY; 23/p

SMITH, S;

BYU starters: 14/rf JOHNSON, L.; 1/cf WELLS; 24/dh NAKAYAMA; 9/lf WALTON; 5/3b

PARKER; 22/1b KO; 18/2b HALL; 10/c MUSSO; 13/ss VARGAS; 28/p WORTHAM;

New Mexico 1st - FOOTE grounded out to ss. PACHECO grounded out to 3b.

STOVALL popped up to 2b. 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0 LOB.

BYU 1st - JOHNSON, L. grounded out to p, bunt. WELLS flied out to cf.

NAKAYAMA singled to right field. WALTON struck out looking. 0 runs, 1 hit, 0

errors, 1 LOB.

New Mexico 2nd - HIBBITTS flied out to rf. HOLLICK grounded out to p.

COURCHA walked. RUSSELL singled up the middle; COURCHA advanced to second.

WILLETT singled to center field, RBI; RUSSELL advanced to third; COURCHA

scored. WILLETT stole second; RUSSELL stole home. GRACEY grounded out to 2b.

2 runs, 2 hits, 0 errors, 1 LOB.

BYU 2nd - PARKER flied out to lf. KO singled to center field. HALL hit

by pitch; KO advanced to second. MUSSO struck out. VARGAS struck out looking.

0 runs, 1 hit, 0 errors, 2 LOB.

New Mexico 3rd - FOOTE struck out. PACHECO grounded out to 2b. STOVALL

flied out to lf. 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0 LOB.

BYU 3rd - JOHNSON, L. struck out looking. WELLS singled to right field.

NAKAYAMA homered to right field, 2 RBI; WELLS scored. WALTON singled to

shortstop. PARKER walked; WALTON advanced to second. KO grounded out to ss;

PARKER advanced to second; WALTON advanced to third. HALL struck out. 2

runs, 3 hits, 0 errors, 2 LOB.

New Mexico 4th - HIBBITTS flied out to lf. HOLLICK grounded out to ss.

COURCHA grounded out to ss. 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0 LOB.

BYU 4th - MUSSO singled, bunt. VARGAS grounded out to p, SAC, bunt;

MUSSO advanced to second. JOHNSON, L. grounded out to 1b unassisted; MUSSO

advanced to third. WELLS flied out to cf. 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 errors, 1

LOB.

New Mexico 5th - RUSSELL singled up the middle. WILLETT grounded out to

p, SAC, bunt; RUSSELL advanced to second. GRACEY grounded out to ss; RUSSELL

advanced to third. RUSSELL scored on a balk. FOOTE struck out looking. 1

run, 1 hit, 0 errors, 0 LOB.

BYU 5th - NAKAYAMA lined out to 2b. WALTON grounded out to 3b. PARKER

singled up the middle. KO popped up to p. 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 errors, 1

LOB.

New Mexico 6th - PACHECO walked. STOVALL grounded into double play 3b to

2b to 1b; PACHECO out on the play. HIBBITTS lined out to ss. 0 runs, 0 hits,

0 errors, 0 LOB.

BYU 6th - HALL singled to left field. MUSSO struck out. VARGAS struck

out; HALL stole second. JOHNSON, L. grounded out to ss. 0 runs, 1 hit, 0

errors, 1 LOB.

New Mexico 7th - HOLLICK grounded out to p. COURCHA grounded out to ss.

RUSSELL singled up the middle. WILLETT flied out to cf. 0 runs, 1 hit, 0

errors, 1 LOB.

BYU 7th - WELLS singled to left field. WELLS stole second, advanced to

third on a throwing error by c. NAKAYAMA reached on a fielder's choice; WELLS

scored on a throwing error by 1b. WALTON singled to catcher; NAKAYAMA advanced

to second. PARKER doubled to left field, 2 RBI; WALTON scored; NAKAYAMA scored.

KO flied out to rf; PARKER advanced to third. HALL grounded out to ss. MUSSO

struck out. 3 runs, 3 hits, 2 errors, 1 LOB.

New Mexico 8th - GRACEY grounded out to ss. FOOTE walked. PACHECO flied

out to rf. STOVALL singled to left field; FOOTE advanced to second. JENSEN to p

for WORTHAM. HIBBITTS singled to pitcher; STOVALL advanced to second; FOOTE

advanced to third. HOLLICK grounded out to 2b. 0 runs, 2 hits, 0 errors, 3

LOB.

BYU 8th - VARGAS hit by pitch. HEWETT to p for SMITH, S. VARGAS out at

second c to ss, caught stealing. JOHNSON, L. grounded out to 2b. WELLS out at

first p to ss to 1b. 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0 LOB.

New Mexico 9th - COURCHA walked. RUSSELL flied out to cf. WILLETT struck

out. PILKINGTON pinch hit for GRACEY. PILKINGTON struck out. 0 runs, 0 hits,

0 errors, 1 LOB.

Tags: Results