King's Homer Beats AFA | The Official Site of BYU Athletics

King's Homer Beats AFA

SAN DIEGO -- Seth King's three-run homer in the fourth inning was the turning point for BYU's 7-1 victory Wednesday over the Air Force Academy in the opening round of the Mountain West Conference Tournament.

"They pitched me away, away, and away before a curve came in on the corner," said King, who was named second-team All-MWC as a shortstop yesterday.

Then King sent the full count curve away over the left field fence with two outs to give BYU a 3-1 lead and extend his team-leading hitting streak to 12 with his only hit of the game.

"Air Force thought they had a called third strike and then he fouled off a pitch," said BYU Coach Vance Law of King's eighth home run of the season. "He's a whale of a player."

BYU began the fourth inning with some fine defensive play from Shane Belliston, who made a running catch on a centerfield fly, then started a putout of Brian LeBasco by throwing to third to try and get out Mike Thiessen who led off the inning with a single. Thiessen beat the throw, but third baseman Kainoa Obrey alertly threw to second to get LeBasco trying to extend his single.

Thiessen scored the game's first run when Tony Shockley singled up the middle past a ducking Nate Fernley. Fernley, who extended his NCAA-leading pitching victories to 15 with his fourth consecutive win, closed the fourth inning covering first base, then spiking the ball.

The Cougars, now 35-19, started the bottom of the fourth inning, knocking three consecutive singles after one out, beginning with Belliston's high-bouncing single to third. Belliston scored off Obrey's high chopper to third, to tie the game. In between, Matt Carson had singled, but suffered a back spasm while standing on second base.

Carson's status went undetected by most as Michael Wirrick started a second three-single rally following King's homer. Lars Birkeland singled and then Wirrick scored off Tyler Perry's single, but Perry was thrown out on a nine-five-six play at second base to end the inning.

Carson battled through the top of the fifth inning as Fernley put on a one-man clinic with his "best friend" after surrendering a lead-off single to Nelson Prouty. Fernley dove to catch a bunt of Daniel Petro and turned the double play as Prouty was too far off first. Fernley then bare-handed a bunt by Nick Liegel to throw him out at first.

Carson was due up in his normal third spot, but notified Coach Law of his back problem which hadn't relented even after the game. Coach Law turned to an improbable substitute, his son Tim, and moved Wirrick from first base to Carson's right field spot.

In the sixth, Wirrick and Law recorded the first two outs of Fernley's final inning, capped by Birkeland throwing to King as Lebasco was trying to steal second.

The Falcons went three-up-three down five times to Fernley, including a pick off to end the second inning. However, the Falcons weren't done being set down in order when Fernley left the game after throwing 71 pitches in hopes of returning later in the tournament. Reliever Matt Ward faced the minimum nine batters in the final three innings to earn his fourth save of the season, including a strikeout every inning.

"It felt good just to finally be able to contribute," said Ward, who hasn't seen action outside the bullpen in over a week.

After Ward's first inning, starting with Gerremy Goldsberry lining out to Law at first, BYU started another two-out rally in the bottom of the seventh. Law drove a single up the middle to score Doug Jackson and Belliston, who had singled and doubled, respectively.

Ironically, Jackson had doubled and Belliston had singled in the first inning, but were both put out on plays by Petro.

"I got a little too aggressive in the first inning and didn't wait until our big bats came up to hit them in," said Coach Law. "The two runs Tim got for us gave us a cushion and drove the final nail in the coffin."

BYU plays Utah on Thursday afternoon at 3 p.m. PDT.

Air Force Academy vs Brigham Young Univ.

May 16, 2001 at San Diego, Calif. (Tony Gwynn Stadium)

Air Force Academy 1 (23-32)

Player AB R H RBI BB SO PO A LOB

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THIESSEN, Mike dh........ 4 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 0

ROLLEG, Don lf/cf........ 4 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0

LaBASCO, Brian ss........ 3 0 1 0 1 1 1 3 0

GOLDSBERRY, Gerremy 1b... 2 0 0 0 1 0 8 0 0

SHOCKLEY, Tony rf........ 3 0 1 1 0 2 1 2 0

PARAMORE, Price 3b....... 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 2 2

PROUTY, Nelson 2b........ 3 0 1 0 0 0 3 2 0

PETRO, Daniel c.......... 2 0 0 0 0 0 3 1 0

HOWES, Adam ph.......... 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

ELLIS, Brett c.......... 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0

LIEGL, Nick cf........... 2 0 0 0 0 1 3 0 0

PHIFER, Josh ph/lf...... 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0

FISHER, Erik p........... 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

BASHORE, Brad p......... 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Totals................... 28 1 5 1 2 6 24 10 2

Brigham Young Univ. 7 (35-19)

Player AB R H RBI BB SO PO A LOB

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JACKSON, Doug lf......... 5 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 2

BELLISTON, Shane cf...... 4 2 3 0 0 0 2 1 0

CARSON, Matt rf.......... 2 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 0

LAW, Tim ph/1b.......... 2 0 1 2 0 0 5 0 0

OBREY, Kainoa 3b......... 3 1 2 1 1 0 0 3 1

HIESTAND, Jeff dh........ 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2

KING, Seth ss............ 4 1 1 3 0 0 1 2 0

WIRRICK, Michael 1b/rf... 4 1 2 0 0 1 7 2 0

BIRKELAND, Lars c........ 4 0 1 0 0 1 6 1 0

PERRY, Tyler 2b.......... 4 0 1 1 0 1 2 2 0

FERNLEY, Nate p.......... 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 3 0

WARD, Matt p............ 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Totals................... 36 7 14 7 1 3 27 14 6

Score by Innings R H E

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Air Force Academy... 000 100 000 - 1 5 2

Brigham Young Univ.. 000 500 20X - 7 14 0

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E - LaBASCO; GOLDSBERRY. DP - Falcons 1; Cougars 1. LOB - Falcons 2; Cougars

6. 2B - JACKSON; BELLISTON. HR - KING(8). CS - LaBASCO; BELLISTON.

Air Force Academy IP H R ER BB SO AB BF

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FISHER, Erik........ 6.2 13 7 7 0 2 30 30

BASHORE, Brad....... 1.1 1 0 0 1 1 6 7

Brigham Young Univ. IP H R ER BB SO AB BF

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

FERNLEY, Nate....... 6.0 5 1 1 2 3 19 21

WARD, Matt.......... 3.0 0 0 0 0 3 9 9

Win - FERNLEY (15-2). Loss - FISHER (2-11). Save - WARD (4).

WP - FERNLEY.

Umpires - Home:Dan Pederson 1st:Ray Belfiore 2nd:Jim Garman 3rd:Dale Luker

Start: 11:10 Time: 2:10 Attendance: 325