Bookend plays fielding and homering by Adam Law in the first and ninth innings fell short in a 10-1 loss to San Francisco. (Photo by Mark A Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah – Red-hot San Francisco beat BYU’s baseball team 10-1 Thursday night at Larry H. Miller Field.
The Cougars (24-19, 10-9 West Coast Conference) avoided their first shutout of the season, as Adam Law’s home run to left field spoiled the Don’s (31-19, 15-7 WCC) blanking. The first-pitcher solo shot which led off the ninght, was Law’s second home run of his career.
“They had really good at bats and they made Desmond (Poulson) pay,” BYU head coach Mike Littlewood said. “I thought Chunner (Nyberg) did a nice job coming in, just keeping it somewhat respectable. This is where we need to have short memories and show up tomorrow, clear our minds of today and be ready to compete.”
Cougar starting pitcher Desmond Poulson (6-2) was roughed up for nine hits and six runs over four innings for the loss.
On an off night for the BYU offense, the Cougars hit into four double plays in the game while allowing San Francisco to record 15 hits, five of which went for extra bases.
In an attempt to spark the Cougars, Law made a spectacular diving stop at third base and threw a laser to first base for the final out in the opening inning of the game.
BYU had runners in scoring position at second and third with two outs, but a groundout ended the first inning.
San Francisco grabbed an early 6-0 lead off a three-run home run by Zachary Turner in the third inning and three runs in the fourth off a double and a single to center field.
BYU pitcher Chunner Nyberg relived starter Poulson in the fifth inning. Nyberg went 3 and 2/3 innings while giving up six hits and four runs.
San Francisco scored its final two runs in the eighth before Daniel Welch relieved Nyberg with the score 10-0. Welch threw 1 and 1/3 innings of hitless ball to build a little momentum for game two.
“I told the guys that if we lose a game, you’re out of the playoffs,” Littlewood said. “In my mind, that’s what if feels like and I think that’s where we’re at. Every single game is a must win and I thought tonight was as well.”
If BYU can rebound and win the series against the Dons plus a sweep next week against Saint Mary’s, it would hold the tie-breaker for the conference playoff standings over USF and Pepperdine.
“We’ve shown we have character all year long and we’ll be ready to play tomorrow,” Littlewood said. “This is a good team; we need to put together a really good win tomorrow.”
Brock Whitney recorded an infield single in the ninth inning, extending his hitting streak to nine games.
Game two of the important three-game series is Thursday at 6 p.m. MDT. The game will be broadcast live on BYUtv and KOVO 960 AM.