Kyle Dean had two home runs in BYU's 9-4 win over Pepperdine on Saturday. (Photo by BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah – Kyle Dean smashed two solo home runs and Colton Shaver added a solo bomb as BYU baseball won the finale of its series with Pepperdine at Larry H. Miller Field on Saturday afternoon.
"It was such an important game for us," BYU head coach Mike Littlwood said. "I'm assuming Pepperdine will be fighting for one of those top four spots, and the tie-breakers over Pepperdine and Saint Mary's are huge for us."
The Cougars took two out of three from the Waves to improve to 20-13, 9-3 (West Coast Conference). They held on to second place in the league, after jumping up to that spot on Friday. The Waves went to 17-17, 6-6.
Ben Rodriguez slugged a three-run home run to give Pepperdine an early 3-0 lead in the second inning. BYU escaped the jam with Bronson Larsen throwing out a Wave at the plate from left field.
Pepperdine doubled home another run in the top of the third inning to lead 4-0. The Cougars evened the score in the bottom half of the inning on a pair of singles, a walk, two Wave errors and a Shaver one-run big fly over the centerfield fence. It marked a homer in each game of the series for Shaver, who came into the game leading BYU with a .400 average in WCC action.
Dean led off the bottom of the fourth inning with a solo shot that ended up being the winning RBI into the scoreboard netting on the left side of the stadium. The Cougars scored three more to lead 8-4, as Nate Favero, Keaton Kringlen, Larsen and Shaver all singled; and Daniel Schneemann tripled to left field.
Dean’s second dinger came in the bottom of the seventh inning with two outs, as he drove a 2-0 pitch over the centerfield wall. Three hits on the day was a season high for Dean, as he also had the second multi-homer game of his career.
BYU starter Hayden Rogers (4-1) spread out eight hits and three earned runs over seven innings for the win. Riley Gates came in with the bases loaded and no outs in the bottom of the eighth and fanned two Pepperdine hitters before inducing an inning-ending ground ball. He finished off the Waves in the ninth for his first save of the season.
"It's nice we have Riley and can trust him late in the game," Littlewood said. "He's got electric stuff."
Next week is big for the Cougars, as they play Utah in the Deseret First Duel on Tuesday in Salt Lake before a weekend series at WCC-leading San Diego.